31 March 2012

"Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters"

The Preacher wrote in Ecclesiastes 11:1: “Cast your bread upon the waters, For you will find it after many days (NKJV).” Bible students generally agree that this verse, in the light of the immediate context is speaking of being a benevolent person who sees others in need and displaying a charitable attitude toward them, regardless of their moral status. It may be a gift of money, some food or a word of encouragement. Jesus Christ was the perfect example of this principle while He lived on this earth and He taught His disciples to profess the same attitude as found in the ‘sermon on the mount’ (Matthew 5-7). The apostle Paul later wrote: “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:9, 10). Our Lord stressed that when we “do a charitable deed” we should not do such to be seen of men (Matthew 6:2-4); but, our heavenly Father knows when we give and the intent of our heart: “For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister” (Hebrews 6:10). To help a friend, a fellow Christian or a stranger without a desire and expectation of recognition is indeed rewarding.

The joy is in the giving and not in the recognition.
“Wouldst thou too narrowly inquire
Whither thy kindness goes!
Thy cake upon the water cast;
Whom it may feed who knows?
~ Goethe
But the Preacher further states: “For you will find it after many days.” The recipient of your kindness and generosity may, in fact, inform others of your deed. You may even be recognized in a public manner without your foreknowledge of the happening. This might occur soon or later. You just never know. “The seed sown in the morning of life may bear its harvest at once, or not till the evening of age. The man may reap at one and the same time the fruits of his earlier and later sowing, and may find that both are alike good” (Plumptre).

Please pardon the personal experience but I would like to share with you a blessing I received recently. I was in a large department store when I saw a lady who works where the ladies cosmetics are sold. I approached her and mentioned that I saw her at the funeral service of a mutual friend. She and the friend’s daughter had worked together in years past. Before I could say but a few words, she quickly stated that she knew who I was and how much she had appreciated my encouraging words to her when a niece had died many years ago. She mentioned that she thought her departed niece would be so concerned about her three small children, all under the age of seven. I had explained to her that her beloved niece would not be worrying about the care of her precious children and used scripture to explain why I said that. This kind lady informed me of some of the words of comfort I had spoken to her, especially that if this lady was indeed a Christian, she and the children could be united again in eternity. She then looked me squarely in the eyes and asked, “Do you remember this conversation” and I had to be honest and say “I do not”. But, she did and my words had brought comfort to her troubled soul. I asked her how old the children were presently. She began to brag on them as to how they were excelling in their studies in various universities. Now, here I am in the “evening of age” and the bread that I had cast upon the waters years before had returned to me. As I walked away, tears were beginning to dampen my eyes as I became emotional. I had truly received a blessing. My friends, you may never know in this life how  much good you may do when you cast your bread upon the waters; but, on the judgment day, the Judge of all of mankind will remind you that “you did it to Me” (Matthew 25:34-40).

1 comment:

Nancy said...

I wanted to leave you the link to a shout out I gave you today. I love the photo that heads the lesson. Your words always uplift and give hope. Have a most blessed day, dear friend.