After Many Days

Ecclesiastes 11:1‑6  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 7
"Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.... He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.... 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." Eccles. 11:1, 4, 61Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days. (Ecclesiastes 11:1)
4He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap. (Ecclesiastes 11:4)
6In 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. (Ecclesiastes 11:6)
. "Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters" (Isa. 32:2020Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters, that send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass. (Isaiah 32:20)).
These verses of Scripture are pregnant with meaning. They give Christ's servants plain injunction and clear directions to go diligently on with the Lord's work, in the full assurance that seed sown will bring forth fruit, although many days may elapse before the fruit be seen. They are very cheering also, for the assurance that they who sow beside all waters are blessed of God, may well encourage our hearts anew to go on with the Lord's work. The Lord loves to cheer His servants. He is the God of all encouragement, and some of the cheer He has given me lately, I should like to share with fellow laborers.
At the close of an after meeting, succeeding a gospel service, a middle-aged lady came up to me and said, "I can tell you your text of this night thirty-four years ago." "Indeed," I replied, "what was it? Pray tell me." " 'And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark'" (Gen. 7:11And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. (Genesis 7:1)).
"You spoke from that text in this town, and that night I was turned to the Lord. I did not find full peace till next day, but my mind was made up; I decided for Jesus that night." "And He has kept you ever since?" "Ever since, and He will to the end."
I remembered the occasion, when it was called to my memory, and also the deeply anxious young woman to whom I spoke in the after-meeting that night; but it was very sweet, after a lapse of four and thirty years to find that the incorruptible seed of God's Word had brought forth such good fruit, as her happy face and manifest delight in the Lord indicated.
One Saturday about two years ago I attended a meeting of Christians where many had gathered together for fellowship and ministry of the Word. Between the afternoon and evening meetings a cup of tea was provided. Among those who were bearing round refreshments I observed a middle-aged woman whose bright happy face quite attracted my notice. Catching my eye, she came up to me and said, "I should greatly like to shake hands with you, Doctor, for I have never seen you since the night I was converted." Shaking hands with her cordially I replied, "And when were you converted?" "It is so long ago that I can scarcely fix the date, but do you remember preaching the gospel in a farmhouse more than a quarter of a century ago?"
"Yes, I remember it perfectly, and the date also. It was twenty-eight years ago. Were you in that meeting?" "Yes, I was then a girl of seventeen, living in a house nearby. I was asked to the meeting; I went, and God spoke to me through your lips that night. I was turned to the Lord. It changed my whole life, and I have been happy in the Lord ever since."
At the time I did not know of anyone who was converted at that meeting, though the farmer's twin girls of twelve years of age became very interested, and found Jesus a night or two after at another meeting. It was a great joy, therefore, to meet this child of the gospel after so many years, and her joy in meeting me was reciprocal.
On the Monday following I was present at some similar meetings, and during the tea interval a weather-beaten man came asking a grip of my hand, saying, "You know I was converted through you." "Indeed," said I, warmly shaking him by the hand, "and where did you hear me preach?" "0, I never heard you preach; it was through one of your little books, but it is twelve years ago. I was then a careless, godless man. One day when I came in to my dinner, I saw my little girl sitting by the fireside twisting and about to tear up a little booklet. My wife at the moment exclaimed, 'Take that book from her; do not let her destroy it.' I took the booklet and read the title, 'God says I am saved.' I said to myself, `That's a queer title; I cannot say that,' and not heeding my dinner I stood and read the little book through. It was very simple, I thought, so simple, only to look to Jesus and be saved, that when I had finished it, I read it through a second time. And then I said to myself, 'If that's all a man has to do, why should I not be saved?' I read it through a third time, and the light burst into my soul; I saw the truth, just as the dying girl did of whom it 'speaks, and like her I could say, 'I am only a poor sinner—Jesus died for me—I believe in Him—God says I am saved, and so I know I am.'
"Turning to my wife I said, `Where did that book come from?' `Oh,' she said, 'a sack of coal came in this morning from the coal merchant, and when I untied it, there on top of the first lump was the little book.'
"Was it not wonderful? But I found Jesus then, and I have been rejoicing in Him ever since, praise His name. Who put the book into the sack I do not know, but God spoke to me through it."
How wondrous are God's ways, and how happy will the person who put that book in the sack be, when he or she finds out it was the means of present and eternal blessing to an immortal soul. This tale should cheer and stimulate tract distributors. If we sow the seed, God will bless it.
Fellow-Christians, le t the foregoing instances of God's grace stimulate us all to go on diligently in the Lord's work. Preachers, tract distributors, and those who perhaps can only invite, or better still, bring with them an unsaved soul to a gospel meeting, have good ground for ceaselessly going on with their work.
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." 1 Cor. 15:5858Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:58).