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. (Ecclesiastes 11:1-6)
If A Tree Falls In The Forest
The practical teaching of Ecclesiastes is clearly evident by what we refer to as the laws of “common sense.” There is a way in the world that is determined by no set rule or pattern save the manner God ordained in creation for things to happen. Man does not control the weather and when rains come or go it is by the creative order of how the world was established. A mighty tree will be standing one day and the next fall to the ground. Does it make noise when it falls and no one is there? That is a deep question however I suspect that in creation it makes a mighty noise. There are many things we do not understand how or why they work but they do. The works of God of mighty and powerful.
The spirit of our text speaks to the benevolence of our hearts to others. Casting our bread upon the waters is an image of sowing seed upon fertile ground that will bring blessings in the harvest. There are many things that will happen in life that we may or may not understand but we must use our opportunities to be kind to others and share. In a world give to profit we often measure our actions by what is gained in the effort we put forth. Investing time and energy we expect to see a reward for our labor. The character of being kind to others is sharing with others our blessings; not to fill our hearts with vainglory of our own deeds.
The writer expresses a common sense approach to life exhorting his readers to do what they can for others and accept the patterns of life that may bring reward or not. If a tree falls to the north or to the south does it really matter? When a deed is done do not tarry to see if honor is given for then the honor given will be of pride not humility. Life is about helping others. Be ready with the hand of compassion to share your life with others. Be blessed in the knowledge that a kind word can change lives as well as a note of friendship. Go in peace being blessed by the Father in Heaven.