It’s debatable which word babies learn first: Momma, Dadda, or mine. If you’ve been around a walking, talking toddler, you know which ones get said the most: Mine, mine, mine. When a toddler thinks everything is theirs and they roll out their army of mines, it’s funny, even cute—and then we teach them the truth. No one looks at the toddler and thinks they have derailed and have no grasp on life. But when an adult lives from the “mine” mindset, it’s a disaster.
Solomon reminds us that we are not the Creator, and therefore, we don’t have ultimate possession, power, or patents on anything under the sun. It’s all God’s. We are called to be wise stewards of the things God has put under our care, and wisdom staves off a propensity for greediness.
When Solomon talks about throwing bread on the water, his listeners would have immediately understood him. For us, however, it’s an odd phrase. If you threw bread on the water, ducks at the park would just snatch it up and then chase you. Solomon’s phrase is an ancient, near eastern way of saying, Be generous. It all comes back around. It’s not a waste to be kind, to be gracious, and give to others. Solomon’s next words are sobering: “You don’t know what disaster may happen” (Ecclesiastes 11:2). So “in the morning sow your seed, and at evening do not let your hand rest” (v.6).
If you are stingy toward others, disaster might come, making it too late for you to help them. Or the inverse, you might lose it all before you could have helped others. Have you been thinking about blessing someone in your small group? Cast that bread. You’ve been thinking about giving to a cause that stirs your heart? Go ahead and cast your cash on the waters. Thinking about generosity is no substitute for actually being generous. Don’t just stare at the clouds: do it—share the bread—don’t wait.
Solomon pivots for a second and points us to the womb, reminding us that we don’t fully comprehend the generous grace of God at work in this world and in our lives, but it compels us in the here and now. God’s grace motivates us to repent of sin. His kindness reminds us to rejoice. And living out the wisdom of God will cause us to love our neighbors as ourselves. We will meet needs, we will seek to bless others, we will make sacrifices for and and seek the good of others—just like Jesus did for us on Easter weekend. Cast your bread, like our Savior did through His body and blood, for the good of others. Let’s humble ourselves, serve one another, and wait for His glorious return and His coming kingdom.
Written by Jeff Medders