In Ecclesiastes, we read about casting our bread on waters. In doing so, it will be found after many days. We are also advised to not stand around observing the wind instead of sowing the seed. If you haven’t figured it out yet, the Bible gives us great wisdom for handling money and making investments.
The bread that is cast on waters, is actually grain. Note that the word waters or seas—this is important. This means that it is not that you are casting your grain in one place, but that you are spreading things out. This means you don’t put all your apples in one basket. Practically living this out means you have a budget that includes not only your general life bills (housing, utilities, transportation, etc.), but room for giving and room for saving. It also means you shouldn’t simply save for one thing, but rather save in different ways. For me, I follow what Dave Ramsey teaches in his Financial Peace University, which is a biblically based teaching. There is emergency fund, vacation saving, car saving, etc. Giving is the same way. On top of the church tithe, we are blessed to be a blessing in other ways. This may include supporting other ministries, fundraisers, and even blessing someone you personally know who is in need.
Notice this passage speaks about tossing out this grain upon the waters (remember multiple areas) and not hold back waiting to see if there’s a sure thing. This doesn’t mean that you are carelessly tossing money in the air and watching it fly away. This means you are trusting God with your money, with all your investments. If you continue reading, note that the passage mentions the work of God who makes everything. Solomon proceeds to advise us to sow in the morning and evening, that we do not know what is going to prosper. We simply trust God. Today, cast your bread upon the waters. If you are not in control of your money, you won’t want to cast it. If that is the case, dig deeper into what God’s Word teaches about money. Check into more information about Dave Ramsey material. Remember, we aren’t meant to cling—we are to cast. Peace is available my friends.
“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 [ESV]
Proverbs 10:17 says, “Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray” (ESV). Another translation speaks about the one who “heeds discipline” as opposed to the one who “ignores correction.” This verse basically says two things: The person who accepts discipline (correction) will be on the path of life. The person who fights again correction will go astray. Some translations even mention these people leading others astray as well.
No one likes to be told they are doing something wrong. No one likes to face the music and accept correction. But we need to do this to develop into who God created us to be—to grow in character and wisdom. Only with correction are we able to confront our faults and change. Only with discipline are we able to have the opportunity for more, not only for our own lives but to lead by example for others as well.
Many times we like to avoid discipline. From childhood on up, it is a way of life for us. Oftentimes we grumble when our parents punish us. We throw a fit when we lose privileges. We get upset when we are punished. Proverbs 12:1 says, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid” (NIV). That sounds kind of harsh. If we hate correction (discipline) we are stupid? The actual word for stupid means brutish and it relates to the word burn or kindle. It represents a life that has no opportunity to be more, a life that can never become as originally designed. My friends, God’s discipline is helpful. God’s discipline should be welcomed and praised. God’s discipline helps us to continue on the path to life. God’s discipline helps us to lead a godly life to point others to Jesus rather than leading astray. God’s discipline refines us.
5- 6 [CEV] “When you are with unbelievers, always make good use of the time. Be pleasant and hold their interest when you speak the message. Choose your words carefully and be ready to give answers to anyone who asks questions.”
- Always make good use of time
- Walk in wisdom.
- Use your head. Don’t miss a trick.
- Remember it’s when you act the fool that all eyes are upon you.
- Be honest (we all need Jesus) and point to Jesus in all you do.
- Be pleasant & hold their interest
- Be gracious in your speech – grace stoops down and brings up
- Speech seasoned with salt (salt elevates)
- Choose words carefully
- Words can build up and tear down, encourage or kill
- Consider the motives for your words before you speak
- Grace with Truth. Not one or the other.
- Consider what God’s Word says—and say that!
- Be ready to give answers
- Always be prepared to answer questions.
- One is prepared to answer questions from Bible reading & study, daily prayer, and the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit. It’s God’s Word that gives the answers and God’s Spirit which leads the way. You aren’t in this alone.
- Don’t fear being asked questions. No one knows all the answers. When in doubt, admit you don’t know and seek answers together. It is better to say you do not know and look together than to be proud and pretend you know and lead someone down the wrong path. Stand for truth at all cost. Seek the Truth always.
Bible Study Questions:
1) The Bible says we are to make good use of time, walking in wisdom. What does that mean? Do we always have to be so serious?
2) The Bible says we are to be pleasant and hold the person’s interest. What does that mean?
How do you hold someone’s interest without trying to entertain them with the aim of making Jesus “more exciting”?
What does “speech seasoned with salt” mean to you?
3) The Bible says we are to choose our words carefully. What happens when our speech is all truth? What happens when our speech is all grace?
How can we use words that build up instead of tear down whenever we speak?
4) The Bible says we are to be ready to give answers. Does it mean we always have to know the answer? What does it mean to be ready? If we don’t know the answer, what are some ways we can respond?
This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Colossians. The 12 weeks include:
- “Wise minds and spirits attuned to His will” [MSG]
- “All the wisdom & understanding that His Spirit gives” [CEV]
- “God to give you complete knowledge of His will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding” [NLT]
- Practical Obedience (1:10) – Knowledge & obedience go together
True spiritual wisdom must affect daily life
Wisdom / Walk / Work – Cannot work for God unless we walk with Him, cannot walk with Him if ignorant to His will
General will = clearly in Bible Specific will = always agrees with Bible
Knowing general will makes it easier to know specific will for daily life
God wants us to:
- Know His Will (Acts 22:14)
- Understand His Will (Ephesians 5:17)
Paul prayed for ALL wisdom & understanding, COMPLETE knowledge…
Complete = Filled full Filled = Controlled by
- Filled with _______ (ex: anger, jealously)
- Filled with Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)
Controlled by full knowledge of God’s will
How? By all wisdom & spiritual insights. Understand will of God through Word of God. Holy Spirit teaches us to submit to Him (John 14:26, John 16:31)
- You will live a life that honors the Lord
- You will always please Him by doing good deeds
- You will come to know God even better
- You will be patient & strong to endure everything because of His power
- You will be truly happy
Bible Study Questions:
1) Paul prayed for the Colossians to have ALL wisdom and understanding. He grasped that God wants us to know and understand His will – and to do this would bring us closer to Him. With our reading, the words patient and strong and happy appear. What does this mean for us?
2) What is the hardest thing about following God’s will?
3) When we have this completeness (fullness), we will be controlled by it. We will then be able to determine what God wants. How do we determine God’s Will—how do we determine what He wants?
4) Let us dig deeper into God’s Word.
Read each of these verses and decide what each verse says about God’s will for us.
- Read 2 Peter 3:9
- Read Ephesians 5:18
- Read 1 Thessalonians 4:3
- Read 1 Peter 2:15
- Read 1 Peter 5:10
- Read Psalm 37:4
This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Colossians. The 12 weeks include:
It is difficult to trust people. I see young children with so much trust of their parents. Like this past weekend, I saw photos of children holding sparklers with their father or mother guiding their hands. The kids trust their parents. They have confidence that their parents want their best and that they are looking out for them. They do not fear the sparklers because of this trust.
Something happens with age. We are let down. We experience loss. We experience failure. We come to realize that no one is perfect. The trust we once had is not like it was when we were young and innocent. We find ourselves doubting even our closest friends and family, sometimes even doubting God.
In Colossians, the Apostle Paul writes about faith in Jesus. This type of faith in Christ Jesus that he describes is absolute trust and confidence. This trust and confidence is in His power, His wisdom, and His goodness. It is the strong faith that will move mountains in life. This is the faith we have when we claim God’s Word, when we recognize His Word as truth. When we do this, it is then that we have absolute trust in our Lord.
For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus [the leaning of your entire human personality on Him in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness] and of the love which you [have and show] for all the saints (God’s consecrated ones). – Colossians 1:4 [AMP]
“Your hands shaped me and made me. Will you now turn and destroy me? Remember that you molded me like clay. Will you now turn me to dust again? Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese, clothe me with skin and flesh and knit me together with bones and sinews? You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit.” – Job 10:8-12 [NIV]
“You turn on me ruthlessly; with the might of your hand you attack me.” – Job 30:21
“You have become cruel” (NLT) – basically saying God changed toward him.
1) God does not change
Malachi 3:6a says, “I am the LORD, and I do not change.” (NIV)
Job realized that God was gracious, kind, and his Creator
But thinks God changed because of his situation.
2) God does not think like us
“’My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the LORD. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.’” – Isaiah 55:8 [NLT]
“Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.” – Psalm 139:16 [NASB]
3) We cannot understand everything
“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11 [NLT]
“I realized that no one can discover everything God is doing under the sun. Not even the wisest people discover everything, no matter what they claim.” – Ecclesiastes 8:17 [NLT]
“God’s riches, wisdom, and knowledge are so deep that it is impossible to explain his decisions or to understand his ways.” – Romans 11:33 [GW]
“Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.” – Ecclesiastes 11:5 [NLT]
4) Ask – Show me Your ways
Moses said to God, “If it is true that you look favorably on me, let me know your ways so I may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor. And remember that this nation is your very own people.” – Exodus 33:13 [NLT]
“Now show me Your glory” (v. 18)
I want to KNOW YOU
I want to SEE YOU
I want to BE IN YOUR PRESENCE
Psalm 103:7, the Psalmist writes,
“He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel.” [NASB]
God’s ways must be MADE KNOWN.
- He MADE KNOWN them to Moses
- Ways – Intimate Relationship
- Know God (Hosea 6:6)
- To the Israelites He taught them by His actions, but his words were concealed. The relationship wasn’t the deep relationship like that He had with Moses.
- Works – Observation – What God does
- Parting Red Sea / Water from Rock / Walls of Jericho
“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”
– Jeremiah 29:13 [NASB]
“Come close to God, and God will come close to you.” – James 4:8a [NLT]
“I long to look on the face of the One that I love
Long to stay in Your presence, it’s where I belong”
(Jesus Culture “Show Me Your Glory”)
In Jeremiah we read: “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart” (29:13). How awesome?!? If you seek God, you will find Him. Yet people so often are seeking and not finding God. Why? Because they are not seeking wholeheartedly.
God has promised that if you seek Him, He will be found. God searches your heart and He understands your plans and thoughts—so He knows if you are seeking Him, if you are truly seeking Him with all your heart. If you are seeking Him, and you are seeking Him with all your heart, you are going to find Him. And when you find Him, you will want nothing more than to know Him more, to be in His presence, to experience His glory.
When I look around, I often see people investing a great deal of time and effort trying to search for answers, for riches, for comfort, for wisdom. Today ask yourself who or what you are seeking in life. What or who has your focus? If you seek Him, He will be found by you. That’s a promise.
“And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.” – 1 Chronicles 28:9 [ESV]
Did you ever hear about Lady Wisdom and Sir Fool? “Lady Wisdom builds a lovely home; Sir Fool comes along and tears it down brick by brick” (MSG). How does one build a lovely home? How does a woman build a great household? Only with a strong foundation. A Strong Foundation.
We have the opportunity to build our life on the Rock or to build our life on something else. If we build upon the Rock, the storms can rage around us but the house will stand. If we build upon the Rock, it doesn’t matter what comes blowing on by because the house will not be moved. If we build on the sand, if we build our life as Sir Fool, we place our lives on the foundation of something other than Jesus. When the cookies crumble, oh how they crumble. A small breeze will knock us down. A storm will come and the house will fall, and it will be a great fall.
Folly hands are not hands that I wish to have anymore. I remember days when those were my hands. I remember when I tried to control everything. I remember when my foundation was myself. I remember when my foundation was money. I remember when my foundation was pleasure. I remember when my foundation was lies. Folly tears down brick by brick. Praise the Lord, He builds us up strong in Him. By His Truth and through His grace and because of His love, we can embrace Him and build on His Solid Foundation. Nothing will shake us. Nothing will break us. Nothing will snatch us from His hands.
“The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.” – Proverbs 14:1 [ESV]