Not getting, but giving, is the way to wealth. Now, if there is one thing which our religion ought to teach us, it is this spirit I have been trying to show the need of--of living not just for to-day, but for days to come, of casting one’s bread upon the waters--the spirit of patient, thoughtful permanence in life and doings. American King James Version × this applies in business and in all areas of life. 1 Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days. 3. Possibly the application of the figure is not to be restricted to acts of beneficence; but the next verse may lead us to think that these are primarily intended, and to these especially the encouragement at the end of the verse applies; for in other cases this book gives a less cheerful view of the possible success of human plans. God acts not by any man’s plans, but leaves it to us to say, “Thou knowest not the works of God.”. Menu. Nothing more easy than to stir men and women to start well in life; the job is to keep them going on. 2 Often we fall into the temptation of not giving as we should, because we want to have enough saved up for ourselves, if something bad happens to us. What, then, is the right seed? It seems to me that it is not houses only, but the whole fabric of society which is being built up thus flimsily and temporarily. It supplies moral bread for the world. III. Even in this life, according to the Decalogue, the reward was at least to begin. The utmost which many of the most devoted servants of God can affirm when they come to die is, that they have been diligently casting bread upon the waters. The “bread” passes from sight and reach swiftly, and apparently beyond recovery, like our hard tack not soaking and falling apart readily, and may be sometimes recovered far down the stream. That with which we do good must be our own. Simply because benevolence should be practiced without either any desire or expectation of ever getting it back, exactly as would be the case of casting bread into a raging river. The text applies to all attempts which are made to benefit the immortal part of man. It is not cast thy “seed” upon the waters. This passage may be regarded as an invitation to work of a special kind--work not likely to be popular, but, nevertheless, essential. . It is true of the world, it is true of the Church; true of your body, true of your fortune, true of your soul. ], [God assures us, that “whatever we give to the poor, we lend unto the Lord; and that he will, in one way or another, repay us again [Note: Proverbs 19:17. Full Life vs. Not a bit of it, my friend. American King James Version ×: “This passage is not a contradiction to the gospel but a call for it. The charge is, “Cast thy bread upon the waters!”, 1. Cast thy bread upon the waters; for thou shalt find it after many days. In the morning sow thy seed and in the evening withhold not thy hand; for thou canst not tell whether shall prosper, this or that, or whether, since all rests at last with the great, big-hearted, loving God, both alike, beyond your very utmost dreams and hopes, shall be prosperous. The application is simple enough. ], I beg leave, then, to recommend to your support this important institution—. [Note: Delitzsch, pp391-92.]. Yes; there is a looking at that part and side of the world that is out of our control, that God holds in His own hands, that paralyzes human endeavour; and the Book of Ecclesiastes warns us, as men of the world, as men of religion, against concerning ourselves with God’s share in the transaction. But Solomon seems to be saying, don"t let the possibility of hard times or an uncertain future keep you from being generous. Invest in Many Ventures - Ship your grain across the sea; after many days you may receive a return. Aye, a man has got to be good; he has to speak the truth to-day, to-morrow, the day after, the week after that, and on and on, if he is going to form within himself such a mass of light and honourableness that men may speak as if some great and noble monument had fallen: “That man’s word was better than his bond; that man never spoke a dishonest, untruthful word.” Oh, the power of momentum! Solomon advises us to get moving because the good things God has to offer will not come to those who waiver (James 1:6-8). To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use the convenient, Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, "Give a portion to seven, yea, even unto eight, ...", "A wind-observer will not sow ... a cloud-watcher will not reap", "Thou knowest not what is the way of the wind, nor how the bones grow in the womb of her that is with child", "Thou knowest not which shall prosper ...". Fancy a farmer aa he goes across the field sowing corn, taking it out grain by grain, and saying, “I wonder whether this grain will be eaten up by a bird, whether this will rot in the ground; I do not know, and therefore I will not sow it.” That would be about as silly as to be always calculating whether the penny you put into the plate is going to convert a heathen, or whether that Bible is going to convert a sinner, or whether going to that meeting will do any definite good. This saying takes us to the banks of the Nile, where, every year, as the flood subsided, while the level lands were still all ooze and mud, the farmer went forth, and, without any ploughing, just cast the grain over the mud, and, simply trampling it in with his flocks of goats, knew that he should “find it after many days” in those fruitful harvests which made, Egypt the granary of the ancient world. All tourists love to tell of the cataract of Niagara, of its thunder, foam and rainbows; but, after all, cataracts like Niagara do little for the fertility of the world. Ecclesiastes 1:1-11 NIV - Everything Is Meaningless - The words - Bible Gateway. A.). We not only desire to certify to ourselves the fitting objects of our compassion, but to follow them into the actual surroundings of their daily life, that the ultimate aim of our assistance may be secured. IV. 2. “When the starving man has been relieved, modern charity inquires whether any fault in the social system deprived him of his share of nature’s bounty, any unjust advantage taken by the strong over the weak, any rudeness or want of culture in himself wrecking his virtue and his habits of thrift.” To this we have to reply that--. “Thou shalt find it after many days.” The reward will not come at once. iii., p. 351; Homiletic Magazine, vol. 3. “Thou shalt find it.” “A good man,” says Carlyle, “is ever a creative mystic centre of goodness. 2 Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth. If clouds are full of water, they pour rain upon the earth. As in the Lord's prayer, all things needful for the body and soul. Well, then, “cast your bread upon the waters.” If your tongues must be so soon employed in groaning and in complaints, let them now, at least, be employed for God. Ecclesiastes 11:1. 6.]”]. 3. Only the reference to self-sacrificing beneficence stands on a level with it as worthy of consideration. There is a sowing which is done by each one of us for himself: a sowing to the flesh or else a sowing to the Spirit; and according as our sowing is of the one kind or the other, so will our harvest be one of happiness or of misery. What he gives out is not stones or chaff, but bread, corn, the life of the world. This indefinite designation of time, which yet definitely points to the remote future, does not thus indicate that the subject is the recompense of noble self-renunciation which is sooner or later rewarded, and often immediately, but exactly accords with the idea of commerce carried on with foreign countries, which expects to attain its object only after a long period of waiting. 1. You may believe to the very end that it was all in vain; and yet in the sight of a God who sees the heart that one word may have been the turning-point for an immortal soul between life and death. Ecclesiastes 11:1 Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days. I. We must aim to sow the right seed. “Work while it is called to-day;” sow ideas, sow truths, sow thoughts suggested by God’s own Spirit, whose blossoms will soon “make the wilderness rejoice, and solitary places glad.”. No work done in Christ’s name is ever in vain. (2) A second reference in the charge is to the sowing: "Cast" the seed. It is a call to unappreciated work. His every act has a helpful power in it. His every act has propagating power in it. It is a crucifying of oneself to be good. "We already catch a breath of the New Testament blowing through the first two verses, a hint of our Lord"s favorite paradox that "he who loves his life loses it", and that "the measure you give will be the measure you get" (John ; Matthew 7:2). People want to make all their harvest into bread--yes, or into cake, if it can be--are not willing to forego any of it for seed, or to be put into the sinking fund of the future. But the case is quite otherwise with respect to seed thrown upon the surface of an inundation: When the waters subside, the corn which remains in the mud grows, and is found again many days after, at the time of harvest. Similarly the Targ. An uncertain receptacle. Ver. "[5] Fleming agreed that, "It refers to business ventures overseas trade. 2. The idea seems to be that our good deeds will eventually come back to us, what we sow we will eventually reap (Revelation 14:13). Several objections are implied in the text. X:7), and is carried away by the stream. 12. A great many of us make another mistake. For the sake of doing good we should deny ourselves. He sowed the bread of heaven on dark waters So softly that history hardly noticed Him or His sowing. Cast thy bread.] Why, look at this even in what one may call the using up of life itself. Ecc 11:2 Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth. It has been remarked that in the East bread is used in the shape of light cakes, which would float on water; and the text has been understood as directing the casting of such cakes into a running stream—an irrational proceeding, not likely to occur to any but one to whom this text might have suggested it, and not offering ground for expectation that he who so cast his bread would find it again. So if we do good to men, it is like launching some precious craft on the deep, which at best must be long before its return gladdens the eye. New International Version (NIV). (Worthington), "Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, for you will find it after many days.". "Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.". What an amount has been spent on that cause in the course of the ages! This clause is added to prevent an objection, and quicken us to the duty enjoined. ◄ Ecclesiastes 11:1 ► Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again. The seed that was sown generations ago is bearing fruit to-day, and it shall be so once more with the seed we sow. Here is a motive addressed to our hope. The great mysteries of life are beyond our comprehension. “Ladies only want so much the more work putting on to their dresses; and so they take just as long making as ever.” Is not that a good deal true, all through life? 3. The merchant sent his ship over the waters, he lost sight of it altogether, and in those days the quickest passage on record was unknown. (Homilist. "Thou knowest not which shall prosper ..." (Ecclesiastes 11:6b). And are they on this account to conclude that they have made a wholly fruitless outlay of zeal and exertion? “If the tree fall toward the south,” etc. Waddey, a very dependable and discerning scholar stresses this.[11]. The bread in the East is made in the form of thin cakes, which would float for a time if thrown into a stream. That is exactly the way the translators of Good News Bible rendered this verse! The charge is, "Cast thy bread upon the waters." People will go to the opera, even if they don’t know how they will pay next week’s board-bill--yes, often enough, even if they can’t pay last week’s! The mention of the clouds with their rain reminds men that all of their wealth comes via the providence of God; and the mention of the fallen tree is a reminder that death terminates one's opportunity to give (Ecclesiastes 11:3). Something to last, there! 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