Uninviting Work
Ecclesiastes 11:1
Cast your bread on the waters: for you shall find it after many days.

This passage may be regarded as an invitation to work of a special kind — work not likely to be popular, but, nevertheless, essential.

I. It is a call to UNAPPRECIATED WORK. Our bread is to be cast upon the waters. We are to render service — service that often costs much — to thankless people. We must be content to work when our work is unacknowledged, unrequited — nay, when it is despised. Much of the highest, painfulest service wrought for the good of men — work of brain and heart — is least appreciated. Let us work in the spirit of a noble faith and consecration, knowing that what we give and suffer will be lightly esteemed among men, and knowing also that it will be accepted before God and become immortal in the life of the world.

II. It is a call to UNOBTRUSIVE WORK. Seed sown on the waters suggest silent forms of service. Mark the way of the Master. In all His work there was an utter absence of theatricality and advertisement. Said His brethren: "If Thou do these things, show Thyself to the world." How truly human such a request, as it all was lost that was not shown! But Christ declined the tempting publicity. He sowed the bread of heaven on dark waters So softly that history hardly noticed Him or His sowing. Did not our Lord, in following this course, intend to teach His people that the establishment of His kingdom would depend most of all upon modest evangelism? And, indeed, ever since Christ's day His cause has chiefly grown out of noiseless, unobtrusive work. The history of the Christian Church wonderfully corresponds with geological history; it is the history of the snowflake, the demonstration of the prevailing efficacy of modest personal sacrifice and influence. All tourists love to tell of the cataract of Niagara, of its thunder, foam and rainbows; but, after all, cataracts like Niagara do little for the fertility of the world. The thousand little streams that go softly in the grass fill the earth with fruit and beauty.

III. It is a call to UNPROMISING WORK. TO SOW the seed upon the waters looks hopeless; little good seems likely to come of such toil and sacrifice. So work for the world's good sometimes seems sadly unpromising; the giving of money, time, influence, feeling, seem only like ploughing the sands, throwing treasure into the sea. But we must hope in hopeless work, or what to the carnal eye looks like hopeless work. The most unpromising ground sometimes yields the richest results. The finest grapes in the world are not grown on fat soil, but on sand deserts and barren shingle that would not afford nourishment to a patch of oats; and the lover of man not rarely gets his richest clusters on the most unpromising ground. It has often been so with the missionary. Who, looking at ancient Britain, would have thought that it would become the vineyard of the Lord? It is often thus in families — the careless, undutiful children turning out the parents' strength and joy.

(W. L. Watkinson.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.

WEB: Cast your bread on the waters; for you shall find it after many days.

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