stepping out in faith

Nothing ventured, nothing gained

Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again. Ecclesiastes 11:1

What does this phrase “cast your bread upon the waters” really mean? It is basically a call to put your faith in action. It is a “nothing ventured, nothing gained” kind of challenge. It bids us to take a risk and relinquish control of something that is precious and essential to our existence in hopes that something even better will return.

There are three common interpretations of this scripture verse. The most accepted interpretation among many Bible scholars is that it refers to helping the poor. The verse is viewed as an encouragement to provide bread to those who have none. Proverbs 19:17 says “He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and He will reward him for what he has done.” (NIV)

Another interpretation is that this verse was applied to the practice of planting on flooded fields. In biblical times when the Jordan River would overflow its banks, farmers were known to go out in a boat and actually sow their seed right on the water. They did this believing that the seed would sink to the bottom and eventually be covered with the fine silt left by the receding flood waters. That would serve as rich soil in which to grow an abundant harvest. Of course it took tremendous faith on the farmer’s part to sow in such adverse conditions. But he took the risk because of the rich return he hoped to gain.

Believe is an action verb

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1 KJV)
Did you know that in twenty of the world’s most primitive languages the word for believe is the same as the word for do? That is something Wycliffe Bible translators have discovered in years of working to translate the Bible into the native language of remote people groups. In other words, for those cultures, to believe something literally means to do something. Faith and action are inseparable. Truth be told, that is the way God intends it.
Genuine faith is expressed through action. This is a discovery that one readily makes when studying Hebrews 11 the great faith chapter of the Bible. A careful reading of the account of Abraham, the father of our faith, in verses 8 through 19 underscores this truth like none other.

An incredible testimony of living by faith

Sheila felt like God was speaking to her. But the magnitude of what He was asking her to do was overwhelming. The idea of quitting her job and simply trusting Him for her provision as she devoted her life to full-time ministry was a huge step of faith. As she pondered this challenge, she told the Lord two things: first, she would not live by “faith and hints” and secondly, she would require a sign from Him. Pulling a dollar amount of $69.10 simply out of thin air – she said – “Lord if I receive a check today for $69.10 I will know that you are calling me to live by faith.”

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