“Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days.” Ecclesiastes 1:11
Many years ago I was a part of an entertaining skit put on for our classmates in Beulah Primary School. I do not recall whose idea it was, it may have been an end of term program. But the group of kids that I hung with (the May Pen crew) came up with this very entertaining skit. We put on a revival type service, sang some good old fashioned hand clapping, foot stomping Sankey hymns, and gave a sermon based on the verse above. If I remember correctly, I was the preacher exhorting the congregation to cast their bread upon the waters. My fellow dramatists were dressed in tie-head and long frocks, and instead of giving me an occasional ‘Amen’ or ‘praise the Lord’ they heckled me. “How we must throw we bread in the water parson?” “But the bread not going to have any use after many days!” We had a lot of fun.
But the message reminds me of the concept of karma. We never know when our actions are going to come back to haunt or reward us. We determine our future by our actions in the present. And in life we cannot flip to the end of the book to see how it is going to turn out. We cannot always know whether our decision today is going to change our life for the better or the worse. And yet sometimes we leap blindly into a new life. It takes courage indeed to change paths, when the outcome is not predictable.
It may be that we commit to an act of generosity at a time when we can least afford it. We see a need and feel motivated to help someone, even though our own bills and budget should have prevented us from doing it. If we are lucky, we may later learn what a difference we made in someone’s life. As parents we invest in our kids’ education, even when they seem unsure of what they want to do with their life.
When I decided to change careers, leaving the hospital setting for teaching, it was a risky move. I was trading a known world for an unknown world. When I looked at the list of pros and cons, it was not clear that I should make the move. On the finance side, I knew I was going to have to cope with a lower salary. But despite all of that I moved. And I discovered a passion for my new career choice that compensated for all of the cons.
Our actions of today can change our future radically for the worse too. Sometimes we make unhealthy choices, not wishing to see the possible consequences down the road. Whether it is our eating habits, failure to keep our blood pressure or blood sugar under control, or other poor lifestyle choices, we act as if those bad outcomes only affect other people, not us. And it takes a knock on the head to make us aware. Some of us are blessed with a knock on the head that we can survive, one that gives us an opportunity to change our bad habits before it is too late. Others are not so blessed.
So this morning, as I remember a group of hilarious youngsters entertaining their schoolmates, I hope that the more serious message gets through. Go ahead, throw your bread upon the waters, but be aware: for good or bad, you may see that bread floating right back at you! Good karma or bad karma, sooner or later it all comes back around.
Have a great weekend family!