Ecclesiastes 11:1-4 – “Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again. 2 Give portions to seven, yes to eight, for you do not know what disaster may come upon the land. 3 If clouds are full of water, they pour rain upon the earth. Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where it falls, there will it lie. 4 Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.” NIV
The Bible is not lacking in references to hospitality and charity and this is one of them. The writer tells his listeners to “cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again.” I believe this is an illustration that could be visualized in the sowing of rice in a flooded field and trampled into the soil with the feet and after time it would return in a bountiful harvest. Spiritually we find, if we have tried, that you cannot out give God and that when you “give” your “receive” and the reception is “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over.” You receive what you sow, later than you sow, and more than you sow.
The thought of charity and hospitality continue in the next verse “give portions to seven, yes to eight, for you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.” Your hospitality, generosity, and charity will not be forgotten in the days that follow and you do not know when you might be the one in need of a helping hand. However, I contend that should not be the reason for our hospitality but a result of it. We should be hospitable, charitable, and generous because of our love for God and our fellow man and in so doing we will experience the rich blessings of God as a side benefit.
He then asks a question that is transformed into a statement and answer in the next verse, “If clouds are full of water, they pour rain upon the earth.” I understand this as a comparison of our hospitality and generosity to the natural clouds that are full of water. The result is rain which is nourishment to the land and the people will be the result. We are blessed to be blessings and we dare never forget it.
He then makes two incredible statements that should reach to the core of our beings and spur us to take stock of our condition and our position. “Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where it falls, there will it lie.” This is a direct reference to the fact that only in this life while we are alive can we chart our eternal course. In the condition or state that we die that is where we remain. He follows that by a charge to action in the next verse, “Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.” If you allow circumstance, obstacles, attitudes, and conditions to determine what you do you will suffer the spiritual paralysis. God can speak to the wind and it will obey and if we fear the rain we will never reap. It is time that we move out of our boxes and into the world God has set before us fearless and full of confidence that God is God and always will be God.
May God be with you as you go through this day!