|Vol. 16 No. 8 August 2014||
The Preacher wrote in Ecclesiastes 11:1, “Cast your bread upon the waters, For you will find it after many days” (NKJV). Bible students generally agree that this verse, in the light of the immediate context is speaking of being a benevolent person who sees others in need and displaying a charitable attitude toward them, regardless of their moral status. It may be a gift of money, some food or a word of encouragement. Jesus Christ was the perfect example of this principle while He lived on this earth and He taught His disciples to profess the same attitude as found in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). The apostle Paul later wrote: “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith”(Galatians 6:9-10). Our Lord stressed that when we do a charitable deed, we should not do such to be seen of men (Matthew 6:2-4); but, our heavenly Father knows when we give and the intent of our heart. “For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister” (Hebrews 6:10). To help a friend, a fellow Christian or a stranger without a desire and expectation of recognition is indeed rewarding. The joy is in the giving and not in the recognition.
Wouldst thou too narrowly inquire
Whither thy kindness goes!
Thy cake upon the water cast;
Whom it may feed who knows?
Then, the Preacher further stated: “For you will find it after many days.” The recipient of your kindness and generosity may, in fact, inform others of your deed. You may even be recognized in a public manner without your foreknowledge of the happening. This might occur soon or later. You just never know. “The seed sown in the morning of life may bear its harvest at once, or not till the evening of age. The man may reap at one and the same time the fruits of his earlier and later sowing, and may find that both are alike good” (Plumptre).
Please pardon the personal experience, but I would like to share with you a blessing I received recently. I was in a large department store when I saw a lady who works where the ladies cosmetics are sold. I approached her and mentioned that I saw her at the funeral service of a mutual friend. She and the friend’s daughter had worked together in years past. Before I could say but a few words, she quickly stated that she knew who I was and how much she had appreciated my encouraging words to her when a niece had died many years ago. She mentioned that she thought her departed niece would be so concerned about her three small children, all under the age of seven. I had explained to her that her beloved niece would not be worrying about the care of her precious children and used Scripture to explain why I said that. This kind lady informed me of some of the words of comfort I had spoken to her, especially that if this lady was indeed a Christian, she and the children could be united again in eternity. She then looked me squarely in the eyes and asked, “Do you remember this conversation,” and I had to be honest and say “I do not.” She did and my words had brought comfort to her troubled soul. I asked her how old the children were presently. She began to brag on them as to how they were excelling in their studies in various universities. Now, here I am in the evening of age and the bread that I had cast upon the waters years before had returned to me. As I walked away, tears were beginning to dampen my eyes as I became emotional. I had truly received a blessing. My friends, you may never know in this life how much good you may do when you cast your bread upon the waters, but on the Judgment Day, the Judge of all of mankind will remind you that “you did it to Me” (Matthew 25:34-40).
How Do You Conquer Fear?
We live in a world that is constantly plagued by fear. It is very easy for us to fear especially the unknown. Someone once said that the unknown is only that which is temporarily hidden. At other times we fear illness, poverty, family disruption, war, famine and the future.
For those who place their trust in the Lord, however, it’s different, because those who do so are in the hands of an omniscient, omnipotent, heavenly Father. They can face with confidence any difficult situation that comes along.
Psalm 56:1-13 was written by David when the Philistines captured him in Gath. This was likely written on the same occasion as Psalm 34, when David fled from Saul to Philistine territory. He had to pretend insanity before Achish when some servants grew suspicious of him (1 Samuel 21:10-15).
Yet, if you notice Psalm 56:3, David made a very simple but concise statement, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” David stated in this Psalm, “What can flesh do to me?” How much harm can people do to us? They can inflict pain, suffering and death, but no person can rob us of our souls or our future beyond this life. How much harm can we do to ourselves? The worst thing we can do is to reject God and lose our eternal future with Him. Jesus said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul” (Matthew 10:28). Instead, we should fear God, who controls this life and the next.
Even in our deepest sorrow, God cares! Jesus reminded us further of how much God understands us – He knows even the number of hairs on our heads (Matthew 10:30). Often we waver between faith and fear.
Henry Durbanville wrote this about the gifted fourth-century preacher John Chrysostom (c. 347–407).
Exiled from the position which he held as the greatest preacher of his age, this noble man refused to be intimidated. “What can I fear?” he asks. “Will it be death? But you know that Christ is my life, and that I shall gain by death. Will it be exile? But the earth and all its fullness are the Lord’s. Will it be loss of wealth? But we brought nothing into this world and can carry nothing out. Thus all the terrors of the world are contemptible in my eyes, and I smile at all its good things. Poverty I do not fear, riches I do not sigh for, and from death I do not shrink.”
Can we all say this? With God as our Father, Christ as our Savior, and the Word of God as our Guide, we can face every situation with perfect confidence in the One who conquers fear. When you feel so discouraged that you’re sure no one understands, remember that God knows every problem and sees every fear you have. The best antidote for fear is faith in God.