“What Are You Waiting For?”

“Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. Give a portion to seven, or even to eight, for you know not what disaster may happen on earth.”

Ecclesiastes 11:1-2

The farmer would sometimes cast his seed onto flooded areas during seasons of excessive rainfall, hoping that once the waters eventually receded the seed would take root and a crop would sprout. The wisdom of the farmer is seen in his taking a seemingly hopeless situation (a flood) and turning it into a profitable one.

The Preacher instructs us not to be discouraged from doing good just because our situation looks bad on the surface (Gal. 6:9). We are to continue sowing the seed because eventually the waters of difficulty will recede. While it may take some time for the seed to produce a crop, it will eventually come (1 Cor. 15:58). Whether he is speaking of generosity or business ventures, we are to be bold and act while we can because disaster may strike us in the future. Better to diversify our assets or give generously while we can because what goes around comes around (“you will find it after many days”).

“He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap… In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.” (Ecclesiastes 11:4, 6)

We should not wait for ideal conditions to do what needs to be done. The farmer who waits for the perfect weather to sow his seed never reaps a crop. The same fixed law of the harvest applies in God’s kingdom (Gal. 6:7-10). Instead of waiting for the ideal conditions ("observing the wind") we should make the best use of the present because the future is neither predictable (“time and chance happen to all” Ecc. 9:11) nor promised (Jas. 4:13-17).

Jesus once said, “We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work” (Jn. 9:4). The Preacher wrote, "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.” (Ecc. 9:10) Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:15-16). In all three passages, the brevity of life under the sun becomes a spur to motivate activity. Life is short and the days are evil; make the most of your time while you have it.

Sometimes we find ourselves waiting for the ideal conditions to begin the work God has called us to do.

  • Have you been meaning to speak with a neighbor about Christ but don’t feel prepared? What steps have you taken to be more prepared? When will you be sufficiently prepared?
  • Have you been meaning to send that encouraging message to your brother or sister in Christ whom you know is struggling but you are waiting for the perfect moment? When will that be?
  • Have you been meaning to develop better study and prayer habits to develop your relationship and understanding of God but feel like you have to tie up loose ends elsewhere first?
  • Have you been meaning to be more hospitable and have people over your house more but are waiting for a more convenient time?

Caution has its place but so does enterprise. All worthwhile work involves taking calculated risks. Will we trust the Lord and cast our bread upon the waters? Even if things don’t look favorable right now, much fruit may come later. A change in the weather will come when the God of the harvest sets things right.