For quite a few chapters, we have been learning about the ‘limitations of human wisdom’ as the Bible Knowledge Commentary puts it. Before the final section in the book of Ecclesiastes, we are given some straight-forward instruction of how we should live as human, even when we ‘don’t know’ (v.2,5,6) what our future on this earth holds.
God’s instructions to us in light of the uncertain world we live in is to: work hard; invest generously; don’t allow fear of misfortune to cause us to hold back; sow our seed all day long.
- v.1-2 Solomon talks about casting bread on the waters (maybe sending grain abroad on ships) and giving portions to many, because it will come back to us eventually and we don’t know what what evil will come on the earth. In other words, we should not put all our eggs in one basket.
- v.3-4 We are told that there will be always reasons to not sow and no work. If we wait for the most opportune moment, when everything is just right, we will never do anything. We just have to keep working hard regardless of the circumstances and stop making excuses.
- v.5-6 We may not know what evil will come (v.2), the way of the spirit, how bones grow, how a child grows in the womb, or how God works (v.5). But what we do know is that God in control. And He expects us to get up in the morning and ‘sow our seed’ (get to work!). He expects us to work in the evening as well. Because maybe one thing will prosper, maybe another things will prosper; or maybe both will prosper!
What a challenge this is. There is no way to guarantee a successful outcome. But, if we don’t try lots of things and work hard, if we continue to make excuses, we are guaranteed to not succeed.
So, no one knows what a day will bring forth or how everything will work out, but we do know God is in control and He expects us to labour for Him. Let us labour in faith, trusting the Lord to bless in His time and in His way. And regardless of the immediate outcome, let us just be faithful, diligent, and courageous.
As William Carey, missionary to India, said, ‘Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God!’