In a culture consumed by the concept of instant gratification, we must be careful not to bring that sort of “I want it now!” thinking into the service of our Lord. We must not expect (nor will we receive) immediate reward for the good we do in the name of Jesus for the glory of God.
Hear the message from the Wise Preacher:
Cast your bread on the waters: for you shall find it after many days. (Ecclesiastes 11:1)
For the servant of God, the good received is to be found in the service itself. To be sure, God is gracious and often returns a harvest to His workers; but the real harvest is reaped in the service alone, not in the hope of what it may one day yield.
We have been commanded to simply “Cast our bread on the water” and leave it up to the good Lord to fulfill the promise He has made . . . in His time and in His way. When we understand this truth, we find it far easier to serve all those whom God sends our way, giving no thought to what we will receive in return. No labor is in vain when we labor for our Lord!
So . . . why do you do what you do? Reflect on that question for a moment and prayerfully consider your response. Why do you do what you do? Is it because of what you hope to receive in return? Or is it simply because you are grateful to be serving your Savior?
Notice a very important truth contained in the verse from Ecclesiastes: We have all been given bread from the hand of our God, not to hoard and store, but to cast upon the waters. We have been blessed to be a blessing. We have been helped to help others. We have been served to serve others. We have been loved to love others. Jesus Christ died for us so that we might die to self and live for others. God has given to us that we might give to others.
Often we find ourselves serving people who are indifferent and ungrateful. But that gives us no excuse to shrink our service, because it is the Lord we are truly serving when we are serving others . . . all others. Do you remember what Jesus said to His disciples? In describing the Final Judgment, Jesus described a scene when . . .
The King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?”
The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:34-35)
Often we find ourselves serving where we are unlikely to receive a recompense for our labors, and this is a good thing. In God’s economy, He has ordained it to be this way so that we would look to Him and Him alone for the reason why we do what we do. True servants of God, who understand what it means to cast their bread upon the waters, look for opportunities to serve those who cannot pay them back. Often they serve in the shadows, where nobody knows who has brought them the blessing. They do not seek the applause of man, only the acclaim of their God. In so doing, they find their harvest . . . not after so many days, but moment-by-moment.
Who in your life needs your service today? Who has God laid on your heart to pray for or give to? What are you waiting for? Cast your bread on the waters through your faithful witness, and receive the blessings God pours out on those who serve for the sake of serving.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!