Sunday, August 2, 2009

Bread on the Waters

There is a passage in Ecclesiastes that I love. It says, “Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days. Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth” (Eccl 11:1-2). What we are taught here is to share. Give what you have and it will come back to you. Give to seven (the symbol for completion or perfectness) or even to eight (eight is completion or perfection plus one and thus represent beginning again or regeneration and resurrection). I’ll let you ponder on how the numbers add significance here, but I want to talk about what happens when we “cast our bread.”

The logic of the world tells us that we will have more if we hoard and save. But the gospel teaches the opposite—to share and to give. The Savior taught us that if we would give alms in secret, God would then reward us. (Matthew 6:1-4). And His rewards are always more than what we give away!

The other day I read something that illustrates what happens when we follow the logical ways of the world and hoard. It seems that in the beginning of video recording and play back equipment Sony developed Beta technology and kept its invention top secret in order to “corner” the market. Across the ocean the Japanese company JVC developed the VHS format, but instead of keeping their technology secret, they shared with many other companies. As a result everyone began using the shared information to manufacture goods that uses the VHS format. The first year of VHS, Sony lost 40% of the video market and eventually dropped to a 10% share in the market. Eventually the Beta format died altogether and to survive Sony was forced to manufacture VHS products.

This concept of sharing is true for companies, families, and individuals. When we share, give and help in any way we can, we find that all we need comes to us. When we hoard or are stingy with our talents, resources, or time, we find ourselves in dire need.

As it says in Ecclesiastes, we don’t know what will happen tomorrow. We don't know what we will need. But if we are selfless and generous today we can be assured that the Lord will send our way whatever is needed for us to thrive tomorrow.


Wendi said...

That was really interesting about the Beta vs. VHS technology. Thanks for sharing this. It's a good reminder. :)

Becky Rose said...

awesome! thanks for sharing that story!

Sherrie Mills Johnson said...

Wendi, It is interesting, isn't it! And it is so true.

Sherrie Mills Johnson said...

Becky, Thank you. It is good to hear from you again. Mariah told me you stopped by to see her and that you looked great!