Welcome to His Encouragement Thursday! I don’t know about you, but Thursdays are my struggle day of the week. By Thursday, I have already been working hard at school and at home, and I just wish it would hurry up and be Friday already. LOL! I definitely need a little extra Jesus time on Thursdays.
He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.Ecclesiastes 11:4 (ESV)
What an interesting verse. If you are anything like me, maybe you’re saying to yourself, “What does this verse even mean?”
I admit that this verse stumped me until I did a little research. I felt drawn to it, but I just didn’t know why. So, I turned to The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary to see what Rashi had to say about this verse. Here is what he said:
- He who waits for the wind: he who waits and looks forward until the wind comes.
- will not sow: Sometimes he waits, and it does not come.
- and he who looks at the clouds: He looks at the clouds, and when he sees them darkening, he is afraid to reap because of the rains; [such a person] will never reap because he is always afraid.
So, if I have it right, this verse is a warning against being the type of person who doesn’t act because of fear.
In the first part of the verse, we have a person waiting for wind. Why is he waiting? To see if the wind will be favorable or damaging. There is nothing wrong with taking a moment to access a situation — weather included — but if all you ever do is watch and wait you let life pass you by. You miss opportunities God sets before you. Of course, this has surface-level implications. The Israelites were an agrarian society. They needed to be cognizant of current weather patterns. You can’t just plant and reap whenever you want. BUT I feel there is a deeper, more spiritual implication to this segment of the verse. As followers of Christ, it is our job to be open and ready to God’s working through us. If all we ever do is sit and wait, what are we allowing God to accomplish through us?
This reminds me of Esther 4. Mordecai warns Esther that God’s deliverance — His work — will be fulfilled one way or another. Mordecai gets that Esther is terrified of action, and he understands that she may think she can get away with inaction because she is the Queen of Persia, but he also knows God. He knows that there can be serious consequences for refusing to act when God says act. Esther knows this too because she tells Mordecai that she will act even though doing so could lead to her demise. Esther had a wind-watching moment. The pull to inaction was great, but Esther realized that she was made for her specific moment! Inaction would be futile. So, she acts … and saves the Jewish people from total annihilation.
The second part of Ecclesiastes 11:4 — the part about the clouds — is the most impactful. What does it mean to reap? To reap means to cut or gather a crop or harvest. Interesting! There is profit in reaping. But there is only profit in reaping IF we do it. If we are too worried about the clouds and what destruction they might bring, we get bogged down by all the negative what-ifs and fail to do what is needed — the reaping. God cares about our abilities to reap!
This segment reminds me of Galatians 6:7: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap” (emphasis mine). I feel the sentiment in Galatians 6:7 is the same as Ecclesiastes 11:4. There is no way to fool God. God sees everything. Are we sowing good seed, and in turn, are we reaping a good harvest? Or are we too afraid to act? Are we too selfish to act? It really does go back to Mordecai’s warning to Esther.
“Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, ‘Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?‘”Esther 4:13-14; emphasis mine
You are not here on earth at this time by accident. You are here right now because God wants you to be here. You have a purpose. You have some reaping to do. So, are you going to watch the wind and the clouds? Or are you going to act?