Cast Thy Bread

May I attempt to share the great challenge I received from studying the 11th chapter of Ecclesiastes?  I remember one night, while singing #343 “Cast Thy Bread upon the Water”, I got very curious about the verse quoted.  Now, months later, it has opened a little to me.

Ecc 11:1-10
(1)  Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.  This challenges me to be generous with charity and, more importantly, sharing the gospel.  God has promised that—according to him—nothing will be wasted.
(2)  Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.   Temporally: The number seven indicates completeness, and eight is going beyond the normal.  There may also be a connection with the number eight and the last part of the verse.  Perhaps in normal times, you are required and able to give “seven”, but harder times may come and you may be called upon to give more than normal.  I think of the African missions.  They need reliable support throughout the year to have food for the orphans and to run the orphanage, but occasionally there are times when they are faced with a huge difficulty (such as a need for a well), and we are called upon to give “eight”.  Spiritually: Most of our life is spent living everyday life.  Of those days, God expects us to live holy and do what we know to do.  We must be ready, however, when he calls us to do more.  If we are faithful in giving God our “seven”, He counts on us to be faithful when he leads us to a greater work.
(3)  If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.  Temporally: All excuses are shallow.  We should be like the clouds who, when they are full, they give, and their giving is unbiased.  Spiritually: God has blessed me so much! If I am full the joy of salvation, I should share it with those God has put in my path.  Like the first verse says, I don’t know what good it will do, and I may think that it doesn’t change many people, but God says it will have return.
(4)  He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.  Temporally: Too much “observing” and trying to understand everything and attempts to calculate whether our gift will be profitable, will keep us from giving.  Spiritually: It is so easy to begin analyzing whether this person or that person is capable of accepting the gospel. It is not our place to decide, and it will hinder us in many circumstances from being a witness.
(5)  As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.  This is the argument against any protest: we do not know everything God knows.
(6)  In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.

The last part of the chapter is good too, as it prompts young and old alike to remember eternity.

(7)  Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun:
(8)  But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity.
(9)  Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.
(10)  Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.


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