Ecclesiastes 11:1-10

Ecclesiastes 11:1

Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.


Here we have a great principle which can be applied to so many disciplines.  One of them is the funding of worldwide missions where you give and then the organization you give to will send forth the gospel in various places but when will you find it after many days?  And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.  (Luke 16:9)  It seems that those who became saved will welcome you into Heaven for supplying the funds so the gospel reached them and they became saved.  Then there are those other opportunities which we have on this earth such as giving money to help feed the poor or to help them in other ways such as medical help.  Then this verse can also be used as good advice for investing.  We have all heard the saying “all the eggs in one basket” but here Solomon is counseling to have many baskets, that is, to invest in different fields and countries thus diversifying.  After many days of investment we will reap the reward of multiple investments.  In the area of giving to help the poor, since in Ecclesiastes we have read in many places that we will not know what shall be the future, we ourselves may need that help someday for food or clothing, and since we gave, then maybe others would give to help us.


Ecclesiastes 11:2

Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.


Since God is the one who sees what we give and we do not give, then if we branch out and give portions of whatever is needed, maybe food or clothing or just money to help out with fixing a car.  Since we never know what calamity or evil that will come upon the earth, we just obey God and give and help others and he will handle the situations which will come upon the earth.  Right now as I write this, the Corona Virus is making its way through the entire world.  We do not know who is going to get it and who is not, only the Lord knows who will fall victim to it and may need help especially if they are single and alone.  The numbers seven and eight represent that you give as many portions as you possibly can, as you are able to give.  Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee.  (Deuteronomy 16:17)  In other words, no credit cards just give according to your ability.


Ecclesiastes 11:3

If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.


Here Solomon uses the clouds as an example of generosity.  When the clouds are full of water, they don’t send for more clouds to store more rain instead they drench the earth by raining on everything and everywhere they hover over.  What is being stated here is that even inanimate objects show a basic generosity.  And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.  (Luke 12:18)  The foolish man in Luke 12 desired to build bigger barns to store all the goods he had grown instead of giving some of the produce the poor of the area, he showed his greed in wanting to keep it all so he could sell it all at a good price.  Then Solomon goes on to state that if a tree falls to the north or to the south, there it will lie, dead.  What is in view here is that we should do all our giving and casting while we are alive because we will be unable to give or do any altruistic works in the grave.  We will be as dead as that tree which can no longer give shade or give refuge to the birds.  But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?  (Luke 12:20)  The foolish man died and was never able to build those barns so the small percentage of goods he wanted to keep has now turned into a 100% gift to some relative.


Ecclesiastes 11:4

He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.


Here we have an example of laziness and procrastination.  The lazy man claims he cannot sow his product because the weather is not to his liking so he goes back home and goes to sleep.  Then the procrastinator waits for the weather to be perfect and if he keeps waiting, then he will not sow in time which means he will not be able to reap since in the time of harvest the plants will be too young to harvest and then if the cold weather comes, he may lose his entire crop.  This principle can be applied to giving to missions.  If we keep holding back to wait for a perfect ministry, we will never sow and therefore we will never experience the Lord’s blessings in reaping and eventually we die and lose all opportunity for blessing.  We won’t lose our salvation but we will lose something.  Then in our verse the same principle applies to the time of reaping.  If a person waits for the perfect weather to reap, he may lose his entire crop to a rainy or winter season.  Reaping must be done according to the calendar not the weather report.  He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour.  (Psalm 112:9)


Ecclesiastes 11:5

As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.


Here is a verse which totally refutes the idea that man has such exalted knowledge.  The one thing we can be sure of is that the more we know, the more we realize we don’t know.  The spirit which comes into a person at the time of conception giving them physical life and also the Holy Spirit when he indwells a person giving them spiritual life.  We cannot see the Spirit at work but we can see the effects of a spirit filled life.  The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.  (John 3:8)  Not only does man have no knowledge of the way the Spirit operates in the spiritual realm, he also has no idea how bones grow in the womb in a baby.  Everything is soft in the mother’s womb and yet the bones, being hard, grow along with the rest of the baby.  Man having no knowledge of the aforementioned items would definitely not know the works of God and how he goes about accomplishing his will on earth.  Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.  (Acts 15:18)  The Acts verse state the God knows all his works but man does not and we must admit to that fact.  WWJD What would Jesus Do? This is also a false movement used to manipulate people because Jesus being God means we would have no idea how he works.


Ecclesiastes 11:6

In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.


Then we are counseled to sow the seed which may refer to a farmer who sows the seed in the ground he has prepared in hopes to receive a good harvest.  Then he is not to withhold his hand which would mean that he is to engage in charitable giving and if he has been prospered by the Lord, then he is to give and help others.  But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.  (2 Corinthians 9:6)  A person who has the means but only gives a menial amount will be rewarded according to the attitude and amount he has given.  While a person has the means they should give because they do not know whether prosperity is in their future or there is coming a time when they will be on the receiving end of charitable giving.  If a person is hungry, you are not going to point him to the nearest dumpster instead you will give him a meal which would be good for both the giver and receiver.


Ecclesiastes 11:7

Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun:


This verse teaches us that whenever we see the light of day it is a good thing because it means we have one more day upon this earth and we can make our lives count for the furtherance of the gospel.  However, there are many who only see this world and neglect any understanding of the next world and are happy to see the sun rise so they can conduct business and create more wealth.  Many live life seeing the world as the only thing that matters.


Ecclesiastes 11:8

But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity.


Then this verse speaks of reality even to those who live only for this life.  A person may live to a ripe old age and has rejoiced in the fact that he has had a long life and saw many sunrises but he must not neglect the fact that death will come upon him someday and the dark days of death will be many more than the days of light he has seen upon the earth.  Job understood this well.  Before I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death;  (Job 10:21)  A person who still has physical life will be able to come and go to different places but when one is dead they are in only one place never to be moved and that is the grave.  This is not to discount the resurrection at the last day but Solomon is speaking in earthly terms.  All the things that befall man whether good or bad amounts to a hill of vanity in light of the reality of death.


Ecclesiastes 11:9

Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.


Then Solomon begins to counsel the young people that they should have times of gladness in their youth and find things that make them happy and then proceed to do those things.  One thing he counsels is that the youth should walk in the way of their heart, that is, they should find things that bring them enjoyment and do them while they have the strength to do them.  Allow yourselves to see with your eyes what you want to do and then go do it.  Then Solomon brings about a warning to the youth that their actions are not without consequences.  When one follows their heart they must heed the advice of Jeremiah.  The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?  (Jeremiah 17:9)  If we follow our hearts which are deceitful and wicked, then it will get us into trouble and if we only run our lives by sight, then we will still be in trouble because we need to see through our eyes and not with them.  This means that everything we see will have a deeper story behind it and therefore if we want to do something then we need to evaluate much deeper than just sight.  Remember the human race got into trouble because of one person who saw with her eyes and did not evaluate her decision.  And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.  (Genesis 3:6)


Ecclesiastes 11:10

Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.


Then Solomon admonishes the young people to remove sorrow from their heart which would be the sensual and rebellious acts from their lives which eventually lead to sorrow as a consequence.  Then the people should put away evil from their flesh, that is, make proper decisions about life and stop living a life of folly which includes just living for this world as if there will be no accountability for one’s actions.  In the previous verse, Solomon states that God will bring all actions into judgment.  Childhood and youth are vanity in the sense that the things which are done in those age groups are normally done without much consideration for consequence for the actions taken.  Young people never realize that they are growing older each day and their present actions may have long term consequences into adulthood.