November 17, 2023
- By Ed Powell
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"Cast thy bread upon the waters:for thou shalt find it after many days."
This has been an encouraging promise to many involved in the ministry of God's Word. Missionaries often labor on foreign fields, struggling with the language, adjusting to strange customs, enduring harsh environments and working among people in hostile places with little if any fruit from their labor. Often it is years before they see any tangible results from their labor of love. They have responded in obedience to God's call upon their lives and now are casting the bread of life upon the waters of an unbelieving and often hostile people.
In Egypt, where the Nile overflows the countryside during the rainy season, it is said that the farmers cast their seed (rice) upon the waters even while they are in a flooding stage. Instead of losing their seed, they find it again after many days after the water subsides, growing into an abundant crop.
Hudson Taylor, the great missionary to interior China back in the late 1800s is typical of those who spend years casting their bread upon the waters while waiting in persevering faith to see the fruit of harvest. Burdened down with the many responsibilities, the climate and difficulties of venturing into this vast country entirely by faith, he labored for many years before experiencing the birth of souls being won to Christ. A fellow missionary wrote him a letter in reply to Hudson Taylor's burden of striving and struggling and a feeling of failure. He said, "I too, had the same problem until I exchanged 'my' inefficiency to trusting Him for present power. I rested in the love of an Almighty Savior. I was willing that His will should be truly supreme. Looking off to Him, not striving after faith, but resting on the Faithful One."
This was the glorious awakening in Hudson Taylor's life. After 26 years of casting the bread upon the waters, the harvest had come. There were now 70 mission stations with as many missionaries. He trusted God for 70 more missionaries within the next three years, and by faith and prayer the answer came. He trusted God for 100 more missionaries to come in the next four years. They came with their support assured. Remember this was a Faith Mission without any promise of monetary support. In 70 years this faith mission grew to 1083 missionaries, and 1968 paid Chinese helpers. More than 2000 volunteer Chinese workers labored in the 250 mission stations, 1600 chapels, 11 hospitals and a hundred dispensaries. Nearly 500 schools for the natives were conducted and more than a 100,000 converts had been baptized! The "return after many days" of "casting the bread upon the waters" is inestimable for this initial missionary effort in China back in 1880. The only conclusion for the magnitude of Hudson Taylor's ministry in China is, God did it through one completely committed to His will. [Information of Hudson Taylor was taken from "How They Were Won" by V. Raymond Edman.]
A friend of ours had just lost his job but he and his wife were determined to fill a commitment at a weekly Bible conference. Money was scarce but they felt they had enough to pay for their weekly expense. At the end of the conference they went to the office to pay their bill. When they were given their bill these words written across the bottom, "PAID IN FULL" with this verse, "Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days." They had been faithful in casting their bread upon the waters, now they were reaping a measure of the harvest. God wants us to be found faithful in what He has committed to us. We are responsible to be obedient...the results are His responsibility. "To him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward" (Proverbs 11:18). Dare to trust God! Cut the shorelines, launch out into the deep waters, and see the works of the Lord! "Cast thy bread upon the waters..."
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://www.litmin.org/dare.php?date=2023-11-17
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