Cast Your Bread On the Waters
Today’s passage comes from Ecclesiastes, we believe it is Solomon, the son of David, who wrote this. In the end Ecclesiastes 12:8, he said in Ecclesiastes 12:8 all is vanity.
The entire book speaks of the vanity of life, how empty and deceitful and pointless the riches of this world, the luxuries and enjoyments of this world can be without God. In the end, it leads us to ask this question: How then am I to live in this world, with what purpose? Today’s passage is part of this book’s answer to this question.
In today’s passage in different versions, it says to ship your grain across the sea in the NIV bible. In the New Century Version, it says: Invest what you have, because after a while you will get a return. Invest in several different businesses because you don’t know what disaster may happen. The NLT version says: Divide your investment among many places because you don’t know what risk may lie ahead.
There is an Arabic Proverb used in families to teach the children: Do good, and throw it into the sea. We should do good for the sake of it, not expect a reward for our virtuous deeds. Do good for the sake of doing good. Doing things for God, for the sake of doing good for God, in reciprocating for the blessings He already gave us.
1. What is this bread that we need to cast?
Bread = lehem.
Not a loaf of bread made of wheat or barley, but it speaks of your daily food. It says to cast your bread onto the waters, telling us not to hog our precious things for ourselves only but instead invest spiritually. We may think casting bread into the water is a waste but the author of Ecclesiastes is saying to cast with conviction because this will come back to help you one day. We will sow and we will reap one day. When we invest in the work of God, there will be a return. Isaiah 32:20. The bible does not teach us to expect reward without works, although salvation comes not through our works but through His grace. The result of our works is the reward. Galatians 6:7-9. How should we invest our bread? It says to sow not only in the fleshly sense, that could be your business or good deeds outwardly. But invest and sow to the spirit, and we will reap in the spiritual sense the eternal life.
Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. Proverbs 11:18. Righteousness is God’s Word and God’s command. Jesus says: Not knowing Me is sin. Sin is because we don’t know Jesus. Sowing with the view to righteousness, reap in love. As we are waiting for the Lord, are we passively waiting or sowing something for righteousness? Hosea 10:12. We are on this earth right now, in order to reap in heaven, we have to sow while we have life on this earth right now. Spending time doing bible studies is sowing. Going out to help others to receive the Word, receive life, that is sowing. Praying to God and spending time with Him, you are sowing. When you are doing work to support your family, to do good deeds, you are also sowing. Ultimately this bread represents Jesus, the Word. It also represents the things needed in this life.
How do we cast bread on the waters? We are casting Jesus Christ, we are proclaiming His Word. Every time we do seminars and every time you go out to witness to Word, you are sowing, you are casting the bread.
2. Where should we cast our bread?
Cast your bread on the waters. The investing the bible speaks of is fundamentally for the heavenly world for an eternity but there are many gains. A lot of people don’t like to invest in God, investing time, themselves, offerings because they don’t see any return on this earth. Do you have the eyes to look forward to heaven, faith enough to believe that the heavenly world is more real than this world? How much are we investing? Are we preparing anything up there? It is God who prepares the room and the blessings and rewards in heaven, but it is also true that when we invest in the heavenly things, we receive spiritual dividends on this earth too.
In plain language, when you invest in the eternal world, God will bless you too in the physical things we need in this world today. The blessing of a healthy spirit and soul and family is a greater blessing than anything. We may not have good physical health, good looks or a lot of wear but we have one important thing: We have our Father. The wealth that God gives comes without the worry and sorrows that the world has. That is why we return 10% through tithing. Proverbs 10:22.
How should we cast bread on the waters?
Giving and investing (gifting) in God’s work
What can we give?
Everyone has different talents and resources to give: Offering, time, prayer, anything that we can lift up to God for His glory and for His works. Acts 10:35. Luke 6:38. God will make sure, He counts every second you give to Him, and He will give it back to you, even more – Pressed down, shaken over, running over. Whatever you give for God’s glory, He will give back to us. The church is supposed to give life. It is not a gathering of people who have received life and just want it for myself only. This is a place where we are saved and we give what we have been given freely.
What have you received by coming to the Lord? Let us think about that: If you have received peace in the family, we should give peace and teach peace. If we have received health by coming to the Lord, we should use that health for God’s work. What have you received? That hope for eternal life? Then we should give that hope of eternal life. Our purpose is to ensure these people are in the kingdom of heaven, that they fall in love with the Word and go to the Father. Matthew 10:8.
“Cast” in Hebrew = shalach: means to send, to stretch out, to give freely, to reach out. Reach out with your bread, the most basic thing that you have daily, that is your bread, use that to reach out. Do it in many different ways, not just in one thing. A lot of people take this as a good tip in investing and don’t put all your eggs in one basket, but divide your investments. But what God is telling us is: You have received blessings from God in many different aspects, do God’s work in different ways. 2 Corinthians 9:6, Proverbs 11:24-25, Ecclesiastes 11:1-2. Scatters means to spread in 6 to 7 different ways. 1 Timothy 6:17-18. Use your talent, time, grace, material gifts, love, salvation: That is the work of evangelism. It is not about that quantum. It is a spiritual work, it is your relationship with Father. You are not giving to person A or B, but giving to the Father. What you do to the smallest person, to the poor, to the weak, you are doing to Me. John 3:16, Mark 14:22, John 6:51, Proverbs 19:17.
You did something to the poor man and God says: I borrowed from you, I will keep a record and I will make sure to pay it back to you. Why do we invest and give to God’s work? Because what we have belongs to God. We are stewards and servants that the handling and taking care of God’s money, God’s gifts and talents. Therefore we spend it where God the owner wants to spend it. Matthew 25:14-30.
We need to cast the gospel of Jesus Christ to others. Evangelism. Titus 1:3, Titus 2:14, 1 Corinthians 9:16. What is it as a church we can do for the purpose of preaching the gospel? For the purpose of proclaiming this Word for the people who need it? Let us think about what you can do in your family. What can you do for your parents? What can you do in this community? What can we do internationally? We have to provide the Word, the gospel, the teachings, but we also have to help. That is Missions work.
What is a wise investment? What is the way to do God’s work wisely?
We can learn from the parable in Matthew 25:14-30.
(i) First, we must not forget that the talents we are holding are not ours but something that belongs to our Master. We are only given stewardship over it.
(ii) Second, there is a right time for the servants to make a profit. The servants need to make that profit before the Master returns, however, they don’t know when He returns, therefore there is the right chance.
(iii) Third, the talents belong to the Master and are given to the servants but the servants have a free will to decide what to do with the talents. God has given to us different talents and God will not micro-manage or specify how to use them. He gave you the talents and it is up to YOU how to use those talents for His glory.
(iv) Fourth, the servants will not be able to invest wisely if they misunderstand the Master or His intentions. Let us not misunderstand why God is asking us to give to Him. He does not have the need. We are the ones who have the need.
(v) Fifth if the servants are irresponsible because it is not his talents, with this wrong attitude, what is given to him will also be taken away.
(vi) Lastly, if the servant is responsible and invests wisely and faithfully through his time and effort, he will be given a reward that is greater than what he can ever earn in all of his life.
Matthew 6:30-34. Are we still worrying about what shall I eat or drink or enjoy? We are given the freedom to enjoy God’s blessings but let us think of people out there who cannot even have time to study the Word of God or read the bible because they are worried about meals.
Matthew 6:20, Luke 12:33.