Bread Cast upon the Waters.

"Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days." - Ecc. 11:1.

H. C. Anstey.

Christian Friend, vol. 13, 1886, p. 10.

If I am walking with God, I shall know something of this blessed life of a Christian in this world. In John 21 how different we find it. The disciples there are seeking their food from the waters, not communicating of their own abundance. This is just the opposite to this exhortation in Ecc. 11. In the one case I am seeking something from this scene for myself, in the other I am seeking to communicate to others from my own abundance. The difference is immense. Man is so constituted that he is always of necessity a giver or a receiver. And if I launch out upon the troubled waters of this life, seeking to get something from them, I must learn, as all of us will have to sooner or later, that John 21:5 has a lesson in it for me. (I am only speaking of Christians.) I shall find that when the Lord asks me, after the dark night of my toil, "Have you any meat?" that I have only one answer to give Him, as they had. And "they answered Him, No."

This world - the moral scene through which I am passing - does not contain CHRIST. It had no room for Him when He trod it in grace, and it has no room for Him today. Hence, if I am a Christian, it cannot satisfy me; for it cannot minister Him to me, and nothing can feed the soul that has once tasted of life but the "bread of life." (John 6) Bread is often referred to in Leviticus as the staff of the natural life (Lev. 26:26; Psalm 105); and in like manner Jesus only is the manna that came down from heaven - the spiritual food - the "Bread" for His people today, the Giver of life too to those that have it not. What then has satisfied you, that which you daily find to be enough, learn to distribute to meet the needs of those around you. Christianity is never selfish - it always thinks of others. Whatever the need or the sorrow may be, there is relief. Jesus is the "bread of life." (John 6:33, 48.) "Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days."

It is only the ministry of Christ that will meet and alleviate the sorrows all around you. This will minister to all earthly sorrows, and will lead on the soul to what is eternal and lasting - "Having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." "Give a portion to seven" (the complete number), "and also to eight" (that is, God's grace goes beyond all evil, and thus is without limit), "for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth." "They need not depart; give ye them to eat." (Matt. 14:16.) But before you give it, it must be "thy bread;" that is, it must be what you live upon yourself, of which you minister. Nothing else is really yours. If Christ is not your daily portion - the satisfying One for you - how can you speak of Him or minister Him to others? Your words will seem to them but as "idle tales," for the Spirit will not add the unction of His power to words that are not true and real as to yourself.

But the privilege and responsibility remain. Christians are directly addressed in the words at the head of this paper; nor do I admit that they have no application to us. If powerless to minister Christ, what then am I living upon day by day, since it is "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh"? The Lord Jesus died to give me all I needed, to satisfy me as a poor sinner, and to fill me as a saint. "Children, have ye any meat?" Am I filled, satisfied, fed day by day? If so, "out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." (John 7) So that I may communicate to others. "Freely ye have received, freely give." Is my Christianity then marked by this exercise of it? "Upon the waters" - restful or restless - "bread" is to be cast, reminding one of Rev. 17, "The waters which thou sawest … are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues."

Such then is to be your life and mine; and if we enter into what Christ is, it will be so spontaneously, daily, a life of casting our "bread upon the waters," only doing this in perfect rest and contentment of soul. This marked His life on earth. The people - everybody, the place - everywhere; for we are told, "In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand" (that is, go on, continue): "for then knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that." May we live day by day in perfect rest of heart; experience what it is to have Christ with us, the only changeless, great, and satisfying reality in this changing scene, brightening and gladdening the house or the business, and therefore ministered in all our footsteps, "until He come." H. C. A.