Ecclesiastes 11:1-4, 6
Cast your bread on the waters: for you shall find it after many days.
These are not the words of some Very young man who has much fervor and little experience; they are those of one who has known the disappointment and disenchantment of life. They come, therefore, with the greater force to us. We gather from them -
I. THAT IT IS WELL WORTHWHILE TO SPEND OUR WHOLE STRENGTH IN LOVING SERVICE. "Cast thy bread upon the waters" - scatter the precious bread-corn, drop it into the flood; that is not the act of a. fool, but of a wise man. "Give a portion to seven;" ay, go further than even that in your liberality - spend your whole strength in that which is good and beneficent, lavish your resources, let there be a generous overflow rather than a cool calculation in your service; and this whether you are acting as a citizen, as a neighbor, or as a member of the Church of Christ.
II. THAT, IF WE ARE WISE, WE SHALL LET OUR VERY IGNORANCE STIMULATE US TO EXERTION. Is it worthwhile to. sow when we cannot be sure that we shall ever reap? Since we do not know what evil may come in a week era day, had we not better turn the seed of the sower into bread for the eater? No; let our ignorance concerning the future be rather an incentive to activity. Say not, "I do not know what changes may come upon the earth; how little my labors may prove to be profitable; who will appreciate my devotion, and who will be unresponsive and ungrateful; therefore I shall suspend my exertions." Say rather, "I cannot tell what is coming; how soon I may be rewarded; how short may be the term of my life and of my opportunity here; I must therefore lose no time and waste no strength; I must do whole-heartedly all that is in my power. Because I cannot tell which of my words will fall like water on the rock, and which like seed upon the fertile soil, whether the morning or the evening labors will be rewarded, therefore I will do my best; perhaps this present effort I am now making may be the very one which has in it the seed of a glorious harvest." Thus our very ignorance may stimulate us to holy and fruitful action.
III. THAT WE SHOULD NOT ALLOW OURSELVES TO BE DISTURBED BY THE UNSYMPATHETIC FORCES ROUND US. If the clouds are full of rain, they will empty themselves on the earth without any regard to our necessity for fine weather; the tree will fall this way or that, according to the wind, whomsoever or whatsoever it will crush by its weight. The forces of nature are quite unsympathetic. Feebleness may incapacitate or death may take away our most efficient fellow-laborer; the changes that affect our human lives may reduce our means or remove our agents, or even close our agencies; but we must not be daunted, nor must we stay our hand on this account. The full mind, like the full cloud, must pour itself forth, and may do so in words and ways we do not like; the man, like the tree, must take the line toward which he strongly inclines, and this may be one that traverses our tastes and wishes, Never mind! We are not to let our good work for Christ be arrested by such incidental difficulty as that. We are to "quit us like men, and be strong," and we are to triumph over such hindrances as these.
IV. THAT WE ARE NOT TO BE IN ANY HURRY FOR THE HARVEST. The seed we cast "shall be found after many days." The husbandman hath "long patience," waiting for the fruits of the earth. The history of the noblest men is one long sermon on the blessedness of patience. It says to the Christian pilgrim and workman, "Work and wait; work diligently, intelligently, devoutly, then wait prayerfully and hopefully. Be not surprised, much less distracted, because the harvest is still far in the future; in due season you will reap, if you faint not." - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.