Walking by Faith Alone

Archive for March 3rd, 2011

Upon the Waters

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As a home school Mom, I have the “joy” of re-learning all that I should have learned in the 6th grade but was too busy passing notes with my best friend, Jere Weaver,  at Trinity Christian School. Unknown or maybe known by our teacher, Mrs. Reese, we spent the day writing messages about her handsome husband and hoping to have the chance to babysit for her on the weekend. Somewhere in between our scheming, I missed out on  Ancient Egypt and life on the Nile. Consequently, my daughter’s lessons intrigue me.

When the Nile River swelled and overflowed its banks, most of the plant life around it perished, the soil disintegrated, and the people would throw their rice seeds into the water. Interestingly, the seeds would take root and later would be found growing in productive vigor. The image reminded me of the scripture in Ecclesiastes 11:1, “Cast your bread upon the waters for after many days you will find it again.”  An odd verse to say the least when you consider the words. I related the scripture to “soggy bread” and moved on; but, in actuality the words of the Teacher are quite profound, especially for today’s world.

I lived in Tampa Florida for a brief period of time. I categorize these four years as “…the best of times and the worst of times…” to steal a phrase from one of my favorite books The Tale of Two Cities. The route home from my place of work and the day care center brought images of homeless people, living under by-pass bridges with cardboard tents and shopping buggies. An elderly man in particular sparked my interest and one day I stopped to give him dinner I purchased at the nearby Publix. All properly packaged in a styrofoam container, plastic utensils included, I approached him with my offering. “Sir, I bought this for you. I thought it might help.”  He casually smiled at me, thanked me, and to my surprise said, “I’m not hungry now. Maybe you should take it home with you.” Perplexed by his statement, I turned on my heels and returned to my car confused. Months later I learned the man was a minister who devoted his life to caring for drug addicts and the mentally ill.

After six or so months of passing him daily, I mustered up all the courage possible, returned to the by-pass, approached the older gentleman and inquired how I could help him. “Awwww,” he said with a gentle gaze, “You learned.” Often we assume to know that which does not exist. Often we categorize people we know nothing about.

God does not need our opinions, He needs our obedience. In daily life we encounter all types of people, although we have no ability to know how our actions impact them; but, God does. Recently, God convicted my spirit when I passed a begger on the street corner of Atlanta. Pulling my daughter away from him, I quickened my step so that we would not be late for the ballet. “He will just spend the money on drugs,” I whispered to her, “It would be better to give him food.”

“Cast your bread upon the water for after many days you will find it again.”

I must admit, I could not enjoy Sleeping Beauty, thinking of what I had said, remembering the man in Tampa, and offering to God my opinion of someone HE loves. After the production I hurriedly returned to the corner where the man once stood. I missed my chance to help.

While we might assume by tossing our bread upon the water it will only result in a soggy mess, God knows differently. Like the rice seeds of ancient days, He can grow that which we toss, but we first have to obey His instruction to toss it. It is only when we give of our provisions, our time, and our service can God use our offering to benefit His kingdom; but, we first must respond to the instruction and act.

Written by Nora Hatchett Almazan

March 3, 2011 at 2:53 pm