Friday, September 05, 2008

Cast Your Bread upon the Waters

Ecclesiastes 11
1 Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. 2 Give a portion to seven, or even to eight, for you know not what disaster may happen on earth. 3 If the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves on the earth,and if a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it will lie. 4 He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.

5 As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.

6 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.

This chapter from Ecclesiastes may or may not resonate with you. For me, it resonates deeply.

Cast your bread on the water. You won’t see the results for a while, but after many days, it will return to you. Give all your portions away, and then give one more portion you didn’t even know you had. The rain will come when it's going to come. The tree is going to fall where it falls. And if you stand around trying to figure out when and where, you’ll never sow your seed or reap the harvest. You cannot figure out My ways no matter how hard you try. So stop over analyzing life. Put your hand to the plow. Sow. I WILL bring harvest—in My time and My ways.

This is a poignant word from God to me. I often feel that I have given all my portions away only to find that I still need to give one more. Many days I catch myself sitting around analyzing the storm clouds in my life to the point that I never sow. And many times I despair because I haven’t yet seen the bread I cast on the water return to me. God’s word to me is to sow my seed in the morning and in the evening as well. I don’t know what will prosper. Maybe one. Maybe another. Or maybe all of it will bear fruit for the kingdom. Regardless—sow my seeds and give away my portions. The bread cast away will find me again after many days.


  1. Hi Wendy: I am currently reading "Practical Theology" and a google search led me to your blog. I have to tell you, this post did indeed resonate with me! To stop over-analyzing and instead sow in faithfulness knowing that the Lord will reap in His time--this I needed to hear today!

  2. Thanks for the encouragement. And thanks for reading the blog and book.

  3. Wendy, this thought haunts me all the time...that I am not sowing enough for the kingdom or that my efforts are fruitless. It is hard and and, I'm sure, wrong to measure one's work for the kingdom.
    I don't want to repeatedly fall into the sin of despair over this. Do you know of any other books that address this issue for further reading?

    New to your blog. Thanks.

  4. Amy, have you read Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss? It's not a bible study, but I'd definitely recommend it for encouragement when you do what you know to do but don't see short term kingdom value to it. I also recommend meditating on Ephesians 1 and 2 which deal with the sovereign God who set His plan in motion for us before time began, including the good works He has prepared for us to do for Him. If I think of something else, I'll add it later. But in general, I would say we often envision ourselves doing things for God's kingdom that maybe He hasn't envisioned me doing for Him. He has a different plan of good works for me, and I need to believe that those good works He has ordained for me to do are of value to HIM, and therefore, that should make them valuable to me.


    Thought I would run this by you as an interesting interpretation of what this obscure passage in Ecclesiastes may refer to.

  6. Wow, Jeremiah. That highlights the difference in the sexes better than anything I've seen in a long time. That would have NEVER occurred to me and still seems quite a stretch compared to the allegorical way I view it. But still, intriguing. Thanks for sharing that.


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