Ecc. 11:1 Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, for you will find it after many days.
What an odd thing to think about, to cast bread on the water, what happens if we do that? Will it come back later or will fish and birds consume it, or perhaps just sink to the bottom and decay? It is hard to expect a loaf or even pieces of bread to float back to us once it has been tossed out, rather it will dissolve and not be found again at all, so more likely it we might say our bread is gone and lost.
Or is it? Fishermen know that bread might be used for bait to catch fish. Others know that birds will come and eat crumbs until nothing is left. If anything remains of bread it nourishes the ever lower forms of life, so that nothing is lost or wasted, whether on the ground or in the water. Maybe our bread cast out does return as we find a bounty in what is fed by it.
Ecc 11:2 Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth.
We become focused on one goal and at times we build in the path of ruin. We speak only to those who understand as we do, to those who we desire and approve of, seeking our will portrayed as hope. It isn't our choice on where to place our efforts but rather to the tasks that present themselves. Not by our own agendas can anything be built, nor by our dreams realised. It isn't by our will but by God's. The further we spread out what we do increases the influence our efforts make, we do not know with certainty the results, we know only a call to diligence in labour.
Ecc 11:3-5 If the clouds are full, they pour out rain upon the earth; and whether a tree falls toward the south or toward the north, wherever the tree falls, there it lies. He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap. Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things.
As much as we want to determine the future and to get what we want, to fulfill our own agendas and wishes, all things are by His will alone and for His purposes. Even when we act in wisdom and watch the signs we are limited to hoping for the results. What we do is in obedience not expecting reward but relying only on merciful grace. What reverence is there is saying "this we will do" and not follow it with "Lord willing"? With so many schemes and contrivances we go forward saying what will result when there is no guarantee at all.
Ecc. 11:6 Sow your seed in the morning and do not be idle in the evening, for you do not know whether morning or evening sowing will succeed, or whether both of them alike will be good.
How easy it is to do work and think the results are certain and that no more needs being done when complete. At times our work is done and no more is needed yet at others times there is only hope it will produce what we expected. Slackness and laziness will diminish a harvest. It is just as easy to neglect a sermon preached in the evening and place hope on only one preached in a morning. Is it a sermon preached in the morning or in the evening that reveals to the heart it's sinfulness and the need of Christ? It might be slothfulness and excuse for avoiding an opportunity then since we do not know the will of God and when His timing brings about an abundance. In diligence much is done, and in faithfulness much is produced, but in all things it is by God's own providence an increase is realised.
When we evangelise, and when a sermon is preached, are we casting our bread out on the waters or only tossing it where we want to find it? Maybe we aren't looking at God's will or providence but at our own agendas and prejudice. Is it our choice to say where a seed is planted or what we will reap from it? Often we want to save those we like, to ignore those we reject or believe worthless, to proclaim where we find satisfaction rather than go where the abundance is. Maybe we place confidence in ourselves and our intellect, supposing that those destined to be saved by God will be and already are saved so no effort is really needed to evangelise. Such is often the accusation against those that speak of election and predestination.
If we do believe in Election and Predestination of sinners to salvation, that God has chosen who He will redeem, then we must go forth to proclaim that Gospel and leave the choice to God alone. We can not choose who those are, when we pretend to do so then we only manipulate God, and those that seek to manipulate God are idolaters. Therefore, cast that Bread of Life out to every unworthy sinner having a broken and contrite heart, for it is effectual to each one who unconditionally belongs to Christ.
Luke 10:2 And He was saying to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.
All Scripture texts quoted from NASB(1995)