Ecclesiastes 11

Ecclesiastes 11

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Cast Your Bread upon the Waters

11   Cast your bread upon the waters,
    for you will find it after many days.
  Give a portion to seven, or even to eight,
    for you know not what disaster may happen on earth.
  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.
  He who observes the wind will not sow,
    and he who regards the clouds will not reap.

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.

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.

Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun.

So if a person lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember that the days of darkness will be many. All that comes is vanity.

Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.

Remove vexation from your heart, and put away pain from your body, for youth and the dawn of life are vanity.

(ESV)


Ecclesiastes 11 Commentary

by Hank Workman

Risk and opportunity – these things face us daily with many decisions we make. Opportunities come before us on every level of this life. They are found in the workplace, in the financial realm, in our own relationships. They also are found in our reactions to much that come upon us. It is an opportunity to shine for Jesus or simply revert to our own human nature. Many times there is no middle ground.

As Solomon advised to cast our bread upon the water – this sums up the whole risk and opportunity aspect. Carpe Diem – seize the day – is a thought that speaks into this. With opportunity on whatever level – there is always an aspect of risk. But it is also a call to a great adventure in the unknown of how things will turn. He is obviously speaking toward the things of this world.

But turning these things thoughts on their head – this same aspect or thought translates with our faith in Jesus. Simply consider how when a person has come to know Jesus as their Savior, there was great risk on every level. For the adventure in trusting and following was provided through the opportunity to turn to Him as the Spirit of God had prompted us to do so. The risk came as in reality we didn’t know what our future would hold. We simply knew that He was with us leading every step of the way.

But as Jesus is always calling us toward deeper things – this risk and opportunity faces us again and again. Our stepping out in faith where He leads is just like casting the bread upon the water, as Solomon wrote. It’s a risk to follow in the great unknown of where He will take us and what plans He has for us.

Unfortunately for many, the risk is too great. After some have come to believe in Jesus the risks of His calling drives us toward the uncomfortable faith of stepping out. For many, they do nothing. And by doing nothing they miss the opportunities Jesus has lined up for us specifically.

Jesus has called us. He has a plan beyond what we can even fathom. It is an opportunity to grow in Him and make a difference. Yes, the risk is great but the fulfillment of that obedience is beyond anything we can imagine.

So if you’re at that juncture right now, Carpe Diem! Seize the Day and see what He has in store for you!


Ecclesiastes 11 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

This is the shortest chapter in the book. The theme here is dealing with risk as we consider the uncertainty of the future. Verse 4 really spoke to me.

One who watches the wind will not sow, and the one who looks at the clouds will not reap.

Ecclesiastes 11:4 HCSB

Unfortunately, this is something I personally struggle with. Basically, this is encouraging us to press on in our duty regardless of whether or not the timing is perfect. Notice I didn’t say “right.” There is a difference between good timing and perfect timing. If we wait around and watch the wind for the perfect time to sow, we will never get anything planted. If we look at the clouds for the perfect time to reap, it won’t happen.

I tend to think this way about MANY things in life. If you are with me, I’m sorry! I have a strong desire to do things perfectly even though my expectations are usually unrealistic. This carries over into my studying of the Word as well as my prayer time. I often think that if I can’t archive, journal and track every detail of my prayer life at the same time each day, then it’s just not worth doing at all. Yeah, it’s called all or nothing thinking and it’s not good.

The reality is, a little prayer is better than no prayer. In fact, I would argue (and some would possibly disagree) that studying the Word legalistically is better than not studying it at all. I have found that many times when I don’t necessarily feel like opening my Bible I am much more grounded and encouraged after I do it. What starts off as just “going through the motions” turns into a deep sense of awe and a fascination with the Scriptures.

So, the summary of this chapter is… don’t be like me! There is no perfect time to “get right with God.” You will NEVER be able to gather all your sins together and get them in order before attempting to follow Jesus. He wants you now – mess and all. He wants the days you feel like it and the days you don’t. He wants your small prayers that go uncharted and untracked as well as all the heartfelt journal entries. I’m not saying we shouldn’t strive for perfection, but rather, we should not let imperfection hinder our responsibility to walk with Jesus every day!

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