Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Jar

Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days.  Give a serving to seven, and also to eight, for you do not know what evil will be on the earth.” – Ecclesiastes 11:1-2

Now that sounds strange to our 2019 ears, doesn’t it?  Bread on water makes mush! Ewe!  But the meaning of these verses is so accurate for today’s life.

“Cast your bread upon the waters” is an allusion to the sowing of rice.  The rise was cast (thrown for sowing) into a wetland, and the cattle would trod it into the earth.  After “many days” the rice would grow and there would be a harvest. 

From that harvest we give.  We give to many – as many as we can.  We don’t hoard it for ourselves, as it will spoil.  Fresh grown rice can become rancid if not completely dried.  It can mold, and spoil.  We give what we have today because keeping it can lead to it spoiling.

But the spoiling isn’t always the rice.  When we keep what can help others, we spoil our own hearts, becoming selfish and uncaring.   

As I read this passage today, the last line struck me with the vision of a jar.  A jar holds just a certain amount.  You can’t overfill it, you can’t stretch it to fit more.  We have one other thing that we cannot stretch, our time. 

We are all allotted a certain amount of time on this earth.  Each day we pour out a little more, and a little more, and one day there will be no more time in that jar. It’s in that jar of time we can choose to show kindness and charity to others, or selfishly consider only ourselves.  But regardless of the decision made each day, time flows from the jar.

As this world become eviler every day, hoarding our good deeds, not giving a “serving to seven, and also to eight”, not only affects those we see in need, but society.  Your charity and kindness to others has a ripple effect.  Your children see it, and they give.  Your friends see it, and they feel the need to be kind to others as well.  Those who receive your kindness, also desire to share that kindness.  But when you hold back, it’s like a river running into the ocean, dammed up.  The ripples from that direction stop.

Friends, today we have time trickling out of our jars.  Pour out your kindness on others and watch the ripples flow!  For friends, there is coming a day when all branches of kindness will be dammed up, and this world will cease to have caring people.  There will be no doors held open, no “God bless you” to a sneeze, no simple smiles to the mother fretting over a wild child at the grocery, no compassion on the sick, no help for those that fall and fail.  Love one another today, because that jar is soon going to be empty, and God needs your compassion to create ripples.

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