“Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters”

“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

In the above verses, the Preacher tells us to take every opportunity to do good to our neighbor (Gal. 6:10) because the time may come when we will be the ones standing in need. The ancient farmer would sometimes cast his seed onto flooded areas hoping that once the waters receded the seed would take root and his crop would spring up. The farmer’s wisdom is seen in his taking a seemingly hopeless situation and turning it into a potentially profitable one. The application of this wisdom is plain.

We are not to be discouraged from doing good just because the situation looks bad on the surface (Gal. 6:9). We are to continue sowing the seed of the kingdom (Lk. 8:4-15) because the waters of difficulty will eventually recede. It may take some time for the seed to produce a crop but it will come (1 Cor. 15:58). “Those who sow in tears, will reap with shouts of joy!” (Psa. 126:5)

In the next few verses, the Preacher says, “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.” (Ecc. 11:4, 6)

In these verses, we learn that we shouldn’t wait for ideal conditions to get to work. If the farmer were to wait for perfect weather to sow his seed he would never reap a crop. Likewise, we will never complete the Lord’s work if we wait for ideal conditions. We must make the best use of today for tomorrow is unpredictable (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). Or in Paul’s words, “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).

Are you waiting for the perfect conditions to begin God’s work?

  • Have you been meaning to tell the good news to your neighbor, friend or co-worker but you’ve been waiting for the right time?
  • Have you been meaning to send that encouraging message to your struggling brother but haven’t found the right moment?
  • Have you been meaning to further develop your devotion to God but tell yourself you have to sort out some other things first?
  • Have you been meaning to further your relationships with other Christians but are waiting for a more convenient time?

We can't expect to reap a crop of righteousness in the future if we fail to sow the seed of the kingdom in the present (Gal. 6:9-10). Follow the wisdom of the farmer and cast your bread upon the waters. Even if conditions don’t look favorable now, much fruit may come later, but only if we sow with trust and patience (Jas. 5:7-8).