Bo was a pillar of society. An outstanding member of the community. He was a gentleman, a savvy businessman and highly respected by all. His employees were paid well above the award and he arranged health insurance as a bonus to their salary.
He was not only blessed in business, but He was blessed in life. He married later in life than his friends, but she was worth waiting for. Everyone had heard of her beauty, not just on the outside, but on the inside. She had such a love for God and a compassion for others, and the way she looked after her mother in law was amazing. Her first husband had died some time before and instead of going back to her own country she stayed with her husbands mother to care for her. Bo met her through the charity arm of his business. She had moved into town with her mother in law but didn't have any means of providing for them.
Bo's colleagues thought it unnecessary for him to give so much to charity. "In order to get ahead," they said, "you have to make every dollar count. Your diary should be full of meetings with influential people, any spare time should be spent on negotiating a new deal on prime stock, and getting more out of your employees." But Bo took time to look after his employees and the needy in his community. When he visited each of his businesses it was obvious how much he was loved and respected. And Bo set aside a large portion of his profits to help the poor. His method of setting aside money to give came from the Bible.
In Leviticus 19:9-10 God set a standard for His people:
“When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. It is the same with your grape crop—do not strip every last bunch of grapes from the vines, and do not pick up the grapes that fall to the ground. Leave them for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the Lord your God."
Can you see the picture of the workers in the field leaving stalks of barley behind so that those less fortunate could have enough to eat? God instructed his people to leave a margin intentionally so that there was opportunity to help the poor and the refugees.
Bo didn't just help out when he had spare time, he set aside time in his week and said no to other appointments. He didn't just give what was in his pocket as he passed the poor man begging in the street. He didn't just donate at Christmas or when there was a natural disaster. He made sure he wasn't so busy that he couldn't fit in a coffee with the friend who was going through a hard time. And he certainly made sure that he didn't have every dollar spent before it came in, so that he had plenty to give when it came to looking after the poor and the refugees in his community.
And it made all the difference; in Bo's life, in his community, and for everyone who would hear his story from then on.
We can make the same difference today. If we consciously set aside a portion of our time and money to be used for God instead of over committing ourselves, we get to join God where He is working in our world. We get to care for the poor and the refugee just like He wants us to. We get to bring the light of Christ into our community. We have the privilege to join with the great cloud of witnesses, the heroes of the faith, who were used by God as part of his-story.
Why not add more margin in your life this month. Watch for opportunities that God will bring along to encourage his people and reach out to others through you.
And, if you like, read the real story of Boaz and Ruth - the grandparents of King David in Ruth 1:1-4:22