The Chair and the Desk, 4/25/16

From the chair:

“And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, nor shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.”

-Leviticus 23:22

We often harbor preconceived notions about the Law–Leviticus especially–that it’s at best dry and at worst irrelevant. To accept this idea and stay away robs us of both the beauty of the big picture and the timeliness of verses like this.

There’s a lot behind this verse: Mercy, justice, gratefulness, generosity. For the farmers of the time, God put it in very concrete, everyday terms: Don’t go back over your field a second time, making sure you got every last bit. Let those who have no field come in an take what they need. Leave some inefficiency in your business, lest you profit insensitive to you neighbor.

For those of us who aren’t farmers, we have to do some translation, but there’s still something we must take to heart about the God we are trying to follow. This God seems much more likely to ask us, “Why didn’t you help that extra person?” than “Why didn’t you make that extra dollar?” We’re raised by a culture that asks us the latter question, so it’s worth pausing and asking how deeply committed we are to the extra dollar on our income statements, in our paychecks, in our savings accounts, off our grocery bills. Are we “boxing out” someone smaller in our rush to win that last bit? It may be worth less than we thought, in the end, and that person is probably worth far more than we’ve stopped to realize.


From the desk:

I got some great advice from my friend Daniel Pedersen yesterday. I was explaining how I’m stuck on this paper, and he said, “Rather than reading another 200 pages of secondary sources, try going back and rereading those 5 pages of the primary sources that are super important.” That’s been really helpful today, and if you’re stuck on a paper, I recommend it to you, too! Once we have a clear understanding of the basics, we may be equipped to say something clear about the basics, which could really stand out.


“The chair” is the one Annie aptly chose for the corner of our living room, and it’s where I am committed to daily hearing from God’s Word–the Word I above all else hope to speak to others. “The desk” is the one by my coffee grounds and spare charger (if I get to the library early enough); it’s where I have the privilege of reading and thinking all day, where I intend to learn for others’ sake.

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About Alex Kato

Born and raised in Seattle, my wife Annie and I first left town so I could attend Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts. We now live in New Jersey, where I am working on a PhD in homiletics (the study of preaching) at Princeton Theological Seminary. I love to converse, preach, read, write, and teach. Someday I hope to serve Jesus Christ's Church through both preaching and teaching preaching.
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