Imagine with me what it may have been like to grow up on an ancient Israeli farm. The long winter months have reduced the once plentiful pantries to empty shelves, and the family is now living on meager rations and dreaming about a loaf of bread fresh from the oven. Suddenly the rain begins to pour, and the once-dusty fields are becoming rivers. The father says to his young son, “Come, it’s time to sow.” Together they walk out to the barn where the father climbs into the loft and pulls down huge bags of grain.
“Father!” the young boy exclaims, “now we can make bread!” The father replies, “No, my son. This grain is not for eating. Come, I will show you what it is for.” He fills a sack with grain, and they wade into the flooded fields. Then the father does the most absurd thing; he begins throwing the grain into the water! That night at the dinner table, the little boy eats his paltry portion and wonders why his father threw all that grain away. Many weeks will go by before he understands, but one day the water will recede and the little boy will step outside and behold a miracle. The fields will be full of tiny sprouts, racing heavenward to produce a harvest of golden grain. It was this ancient farming technique that Solomon was referring to when he wrote, “Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days” (Eccles. 11:1, NKJV).
Throwing perfectly good grain into the water when you are hungry is a difficult thing to do, but what is more difficult is waiting many days for the harvest. This is why Paul encourages us by saying, “Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Gal. 6:9, emphasis added).