Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters

They are so young. These infantrymen, training to earn their Ranger tabs, assembled to hear the Scriptures explained. As their chaplain, it is one of my greatest joys to be able to be amidst fellow soldiers, but also to be able to teach the Bible to those who elect to gather with us.

Today I taught from Luke 8:25, where Jesus asked those in the boat with him that day (and us by extension), “Where is your faith?” It’s the enduring question. It’s not a matter of whether people have faith. The question is, In whom is each person’s faith? In what is a person’s faith?

Is your faith in yourself, in a “force,” in governmental and bureaucratic systems, in planets and astral signs, in a nameless, a-historical ideology/ism? Or is your faith in the One who spoke creation into existence (Psalm 33:9) and upholds it by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:3)?

In Ecclesiastes, Solomon wrote, “Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days” (Ecclesiastes 11:1). The idea is that we are to sow seeds now, knowing that God tills the hearts of men. But we are to be faithful to work, to sow the seeds, to sweat in labor for that which is true, good, and beautiful. In due time, our work will be tested. We shall be revealed for what we did/did not do.

That is such an encouragement. Why? Because we labor, but not in vain. There is a hope laid up, a treasure, a kingdom, in fact. God sees us. And God knows. And God is just. So, should we not number our days, use them wisely, for that which endures?

We are to cast our bread upon the waters. But why? Because things come back around.

Don’t misunderstand. This is not a karmic theology. Rather, this is the theology of God’s sovereignty, and of God’s providence, and of God’s holiness. That’s vastly different from pantheistic karmic religions.

We looked into the Scriptures. We saw how men with imperfect theology, the disciples in the passage from Luke 8:22-25, were asked by Christ himself, “Where is your faith?” It’s a fundamental question, is it not?

We have so many worldviews that are asking us to trust them. Do you really want to trust in the mob, in pop culture, in government shills, in media, in fortune-cookie cliches, in yourself, in your own spiritual resume? The list could continue.

Or does it not make the most sense to trust the One who is wholly good, wholly sovereign, wholly triumphant over and through evil and death and the grave?

This is why we are to cast our bread upon the waters. Because it matters. What we do now matters.

I taught the passage. We walked through it together again and again. It led to discussions afterwards. We took the Lord’s Supper. We prayed.

I was reminded of the sacred privilege I have and for which I am so grateful. Who knows, humanly speaking, what will come of it all, how it will all play out in the big picture? I don’t know the answer to every detail. But I do know where my ultimate faith is. And I long for the next generation to know, too–to know where their faith is and where it should be.

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