Which Will Prosper?

Continuing my lectio divina study of Ecclesiastes, these verses stood out for me in Chapter 11:

“In the morning sow your seed, and at evening do not withhold yor hand, for you do not know what will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.”  Ecclesiastes 11:6

In other words, we don’t know how some situation or decision will turn out.  This reminds me an ancient parable:

“A farmer’s horse, his most valuable possesion runs away.  The neighbors, hearing about this, visit his house, saying ‘What bad luck.’  The farmer replies, ‘Maybe.’


A few days later, the horse returns, bringing a herd of wild horses with him.  The neighbors again visit, saying ‘What good luck.’  The farmer replies, ‘Maybe.’


The farmer’s son breaks his leg while attempting to tame the wild horses.  He becomes quite ill with an infection.  The neighbors say ‘What bad luck.’  The farmer replies, ‘Maybe.’


At the same time, a war is going on.  The local warlord comes to the farmer’s house to conscript his son.  When he finds him feverish, delerious and useless, he leaves him there.  The neighbors once again say, ‘What good luck.’  The farmer replies, ‘Maybe.'”

What looks bad today may work out for the best — what looks wonderful can have unexpected and unfortunate consequences.  We’ve all experienced this.  We lose a job, and end up in a new position we like so much more.  We move to a new house in a beautiful subdivision, only to realize how much we miss our old neighborhood and friends.  Our favorite candidate wins the election, then reneges on all those promises he made.  We get a deadly disease — which causes us to grow closer to God.  You get the idea.

The solution?  Make the best decision you can and then surrender it to God. Detach yourself from expectations. Trust that He’s working it all out for good.  The writer of Ecclesiastes goes on to say:

“… you do not know the work of God who makes everything.”  Ecclesiastes 11:5b

So surrender, and leave the results to God.  It’s the way to peace.

For more on the book of Ecclesiastes see:

Another Blast from the Past

The Good Old Days?

Ecclesiastes Chapter 3–What Stands Out