‘Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.’
I. The text teaches the lesson of obedience to present duty and of patience as to the future result.—There is a sowing which is done by each one of us for himself: a sowing to the flesh or else a sowing to the Spirit; and according as our sowing is of the one kind or the other, so will our harvest be one of happiness or of misery.
II. One great part of this sowing to the Spirit consists in our conduct towards God, the other in our conduct towards one another.—(1) Suppose that one of you sets himself heartily to seek God. God never led you to expect that a few hours’ or a few days’ anxiety would set at rest for ever your prospect of salvation. He bids you seek Him, and He assures you that in due time He will be found of you. (2) Withhold not the word that aims at a brother’s good. It may well be spoken humbly, cautiously, reluctantly, gently; if not, it will lose its influence, and will be wrong in you.
‘How imprudent, how absolutely reckless! Yet the very text itself affirms that we shall “find it after many days.” It is not lost; the seed has gone away from the granary that it may bring a hundredfold back with it; the little seed that went out as a handful will come back as a cart loaded with sheaves, so that you must enlarge the gateway to give the largest welcome.’