“Cast your bread upon the waters—for you shall find it after many days. Give a portion to seven and also to eight—for you know not what evil shall be upon the earth.”

Ecclesiastes 11:1-2

When we remember from Whence our supply comes (Phil. 4:19) and the importance of our being a “consecrated conduit” instead of rigid reservoir, we’ll better understand what it means to be “a co-laborer together with God” (I Cor. 3:5-9).
Solomon’s admonition to “cast our bread upon the waters” doesn’t really mean much to us, as does the corresponding “for you shall find it after many days.” To us, if we throw our bread into the water, it’ll either be swept away by the current, be eaten by fish or sink to the bottom and be ruined.

But, when we realize it’s really a call to “liberal love” and “gracious generosity,” it takes on a whole new meaning.
Quite often in Scriptures the word “waters” is used for “multitudes” (Rev. 16:5). Some have even translated it “Sow your seed in the low places,” never discounting the nature or location of the soil.

So often we “judge a book by its cover.” We size up a person before we even get to know them, passing judgment on them by the way they look, speak or act. But, such attitudes and actions are sinful (Mt. 7:1ff). We don’t know the road that person has traveled or why they may have fallen on hard times. And, even if their want is because of bad decisions or sins in the past, our Lord still specializes in the “Land of New Beginnings” (II Cor. 5:17)—and has called us to “go forth weeping, bearing precious seed, and later on we shall doubt come again with rejoicing, bringing our sheaves with us” (Ps. 126:6).

The Apostle Paul knew this spiritual principle of liberality very well. In fact, in his second letter to the Corinthian church, he reminded them of their failure of fulfilling their vow to send aid to the struggling Christians in Jerusalem. And, to challenge them to keep their word, he reminded them of the persecuted, poverty-stricken Christians in Macedonia (II Cor. 8:1-6).

“In a great trial of affliction these brothers-and-sisters-in-Christ abounded unto the riches of their liberality because of the abundance of their great joy. In their poverty they considered themselves rich! And, they weren’t content with just giving their money; they first wanted to give themselves and even went beyond what seemed reasonable though we begged them not to” (vv.2-5).

Paul then said “Prove the sincerity of your love” (v.8) and reminded them of how Jesus, “though he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor that we might become rich through His poverty” (v.9). And, a few verses later he said “He who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly—and he that sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully. And, don’t forget: God loves a cheerful (lit., ‘hilarious’) giver!” (II Cor. 9:6-7). So, go forth today, Pilgrim, and “cast your bread on the waters.” You don’t give in order to get; but, in your obedience others will be blessed, God will be pleased and you’ll be much richer in your walk with Him.

July 28, 2011