Cast your bread upon the waters,
for you will find it after many days.
2 Give a portion to seven, or even to eight,
for you know not what disaster may happen on earth.
3 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.
4 He who observes the wind will not sow,
and he who regards the clouds will not reap.
5 As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb[a] of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.
6 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.
7 Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun.
8 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. (Ecclesiastes 11:1-8 ESV)
As a pastor and a public-safety chaplain I've has some training and experience with disasters. It is the unfortunate reality many people are ill-prepared to handle them. Just navigating the day to day pressures and problems of ordinary life can be overwhelming for many people. To have the wisdom, prudence, and discipline to make preparations for unpredictable but inevitable disasters just exceeds many people's willingness to do.
In one chaplain's training I attended a few years ago, it was asserted that upwards of 70% of people are in some sort of crisis before a tragedy or traumatic event happens. Already in crisis, people's normal coping methods are overwhelmed by these precipitating events, sometimes they aren't even major or particularly tragic. It's just the proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back."
Covid-19 and the associated disruptions could very well be the overwhelming event that sends and people in crisis over the edge. If we're not careful, prudent, and proactive, those of us who aren't particularly overstressed may actually find ourselves slipping into coping behaviors that don't serve us well.
The wisdom writer of Ecclesiastes isn't typically viewed as having a particularly positive outlook. And, while the close of the book ends with a faith affirming, positive twist. It seems like an appended portion, or an attempt to resolutely affirm a faith-filled perspective to wrap things up. That said, the above passage is actually extraordinarily insightful and helpful to those who catch its drift and heed its direction.
To cast our bread upon the waters is a metaphor for generosity and diligent investment. Verse one and two taken together are a picture of a farmer or business person sending ahead their finished product, the produce of their labors to far flung markets or to places where it is valued or in demand. It can be viewed as either an indiscriminate sharing, or as a careful choice of diversifying as a hedge against disaster. Which ever way we understand it, the key application is in the actual sending it away from ourselves, of resisting the temptation to simply hoard it, or hold it back.
The author reminds us we can't know when or where disaster will strike. The best we can do is to be prepared to share what we possess or to have invested well what we produced. To be able to live generously toward others or to invest aggressively in difficult times is evidence of a person who has taken seriously their responsibility to be a good steward.
I hope you find yourselves in a place where you can heed the counsel to 'cast your bread on the waters." Trusting God to provide has many levels, and if you have walked faithfully saved carefully, and invested broadly, now is not a season to become self-centered or to run scared, it's a time to share! It's a time send!
Hucrest Community Church like most if not all churches in our community will be called upon to do more not less in this season of disruption and potential disaster. If you can, and with prayerful discernment, would you please consider making a gift to our
General Fund or to our Care Fund. It is not our intention to simply store up your gifts, but rather to put them to work in our community for its good and blessing. Our community partners are already calling upon us to step up and our regular expenses continue.
To make a gift visit: www.hucrestcog.org/give
Thanks! Grace and peace!