Wasted Bread

Wasted Bread

“Cast your bread upon the waters.” – Ecc. 11:1


Bread is the substance by which we live. It is our livelihood.  It is our future. It is the substance on which we survive which  normally we would hold onto, put back and  protect as provision for ourselves and our families. However, here we are told, “Cast our bread upon the water.”

Here we are told to throw it away, send it away, toss it away from us onto the waters which would carry it further and further away from us, to who knows where? It’s destination is left to the waves and the wind which carry it to places unknown. It appears careless and wasteful to toss away something so precious and valuable away in such a manner. But it quickly reminds me of the story of Mary pouring out her precious, expensive perfume onto the feet of Jesus. “What a waste!” The disciple cried. It could have been sold and the money given to the poor! There were so many better ways that it could have been used than to have been poured out on Jesus’s feet. (John 12:3)  So the world continues to cry whenever we pour out our precious lives at the feet of Jesus, what a waste! Would God have you cast away your life in such a careless  manner?

Yes.  For anything wasted on God is not wasted at all. The world and our our flesh cry out because it would have our precious bread and ointment, our life poured  out upon them, our resources tossed away in their direction, for their disposal and use, not God’s.

It takes faith to cast our bread upon the waters, to pour out our life at Jesus’ feet for God’s disposal. This is the point of casting our bread on the waters, our life, our resources, our capital, our efforts, our message is now in God’s hands and no longer in our own. We don’t get to know where it goes, where it ends up. If it has any significant impact on anyone’s lives… If it is received…If it is appreciated…If it is seen. It could drift to a far corner of an island and dissolve and what good is that? The fish and birds could devour it. Everything in us says, “What a waste! There must be a better place to cast away our bread then on these waters.” And we set off looking for results instead of looking simply to obey God, despite the results we may or may not see in our limited vision and understanding.

Casting our bread upon the water does appear as waste unless we are intentionally trying to feed the birds or the fish. But sometimes God does call us to cast our bread, our capital, our efforts into places that seem to yield little to no results, places that seem unreceptive to our reasoning that may take years of toil that another may reap. Blogging post after post when it seems it has no impact, sharing the precious words of the Gospel, God’s truth with this person again and again, this group of people, sometimes seems like a waste when there is no response. We have casted our bread, our message, our love, our mercy, upon these waters many times before without any effect. It has done no good. We can think of better places to share our message, better ways to invest our charity where it will be received and appreciated. This is only reasonable right?

Beware of your own reasoning. Our thoughts are not God’s thoughts and our ways are not God’s ways. It is often through the doorway of our own reasoning’s that Satan would hinder our obedience to God by causing us to doubt and question God’s ways and God’s judgment and find them to be unreasonable according to our own superior reason. Satan whispers to us that our own reasoning, our own understanding, our own judgment is superior to God’s. Ours makes sense. God doesn’t make sense.

God often doesn’t make sense. He has a habit of turning our world upside down, turning our perspective upside down, our reasoning upside down, or actually I should say right side up. It only initially feels upside down because we have looked at things upside down for so long. Ever since the fall it is as if we landed on our heads and continued to live with an upside down view of this world and of God. Since our heads are buried in this world, we don’t even see God, our thinking is muddy until God flips us around and things finally begin making sense and we see the world in a whole new way.

Casting our bread upon the waters goes against our reasoning. It is in a very real sense casting our life away, our labor away, in such a manner that it seems pointless in the eyes of the world. We don’t know where it is going and it seems to have no effect, no benefits that we can see. We like to cast our bread upon charities where we can see growth, where we can see appreciation for labors, we see lives changed. We see environments change. We don’t like to do works where we see no change over a long period of time. We are tempted to feel that our labor is a waste. We are having no effect on the kingdom of God. We would look someplace else to cast our bread out, but we know this is the place that God has called us to personally serve him. It is our daily lives, our daily work, among our families, among our friends, among our neighbors, among our coworkers, among our church, among our city, among our nation, among the mundane that we are often called to live for Christ and to cast our bread away day after day after day in areas that by the world’s standards would appear as a waste…

But this is the promise. “For you will find it after many days.The Lord in his grace will one day open our eyes to see the fruit of our wasted labors. His word does not return to him void but will accomplish the purpose for which he sent it. His word is eternal, it will not dissolve and just disappear unseen and wasted.

After many, many days you will see the salvation you have been praying for. After many years you will see a life changed that you almost deemed impossible and gave up on. One day in God’s perfect timing, the words of life He spoke to them through you, the deeds of love and mercy He called you to show that seemed to be wasted at the time, will grow and come to life inside their hearts.  One day you will hear the stories of how God worked in the darkness of a loved ones heart over the years using the words you sowed that somehow found a lodging there which could not be loosed and over time could not be snatched away by the enemy. One day we will hear the stories of how God used our wasted bread.

Some of us plant God’s word and resources intentionally, under the best conditions and tend to it with the best patience and see very little growth. Some cast God’s word out in the hard streets, among the rocks, and see little effect but they keep returning casting their bread away in remote places. Others cast their bread as they live among the daily thorns at work, at home, at school, at a soccer game, among the daily distractions. They are not the best environments for God’s word to be sowed. It is difficult for the word of God to find good soil, but it does. What we toss to the wind often falls in the way of the Spirit. It falls just so in that unseen crack in the sidewalk; sometimes it later gets kicked there or shoved to the side path into a small patch of soil and finds its lodging. It’s no matter how it came there, it has been received, even at times unconsciously and is now protected and begins to take root. One day it will begin to grow and break through all the excuses, all the false reasoning’s of the person’s heart that would stifle and smother it and bring about new life.

We do not know the way of the Spirit who acts as the wind of God. “For the wind blows wherever it pleases, and you hear it sound, but you do not know where comes from or where it comes. So it is with everyone it who is born of the Spirit. As you do not know the way of the wind, so you do not know the way of the Spirit.” – John 3:8-9 “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 the evening withhold not your hand, for your do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.” Ecc. 5-6

In the morning when you have the day’s light and dew to work with, it is the most opportune time to sow your seed. In the evening when the light is fading to work by and the ground is hard and dry, it is the least opportune time to sow your seed. However, do not say you work is done. Your work is never done. We are to sow, sow, sow for God’s causes both the opportune and the inopportune times to prosper.

“Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun.” Ecc. 11:7 It is nice and sweet for our eyes to see God’s work. It is good for our soul and brings us pleasure and encouragement. However…

“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.” – Ecc. 11:8 Our days of darkness are many. There will be months, decades at a time when we will not get to see any results of our efforts. During this time it may seem like we are wasting our lives. Our work is not having any eternal impact. We should expect this. We should not expect to always see, to always understand the ways of God. Otherwise we will face despair, disappointment and depression. We are simply called to trust and obey him at all times.

But this truth is God’s light to us for he makes even our darkness light. Psa. 112:4 Psa. 139:12 This truth enables us to rejoice even in these many days of darkness knowing that this is part of the process and to be expected. The seeds are buried, hidden away as the life in the womb is hidden away and yet it beats and so the seed begins to unfold itself in the many days of darkness appointed to it as God does his work in places we cannot see. We can still rejoice in this “light” in this knowledge and find peace and assurance in knowing that even darkness serves God’s purposes as the waves of the water that carry our bread to faraway places and as the wind also serves God’s purposes by going wherever He directs through his Spirit.