Sometimes a story out of ancient writings that are not Christian or Biblical can still teach us lessons that we need to learn. Here is one such story that I read that is possibly based on a saying attributed to the wise King Solomon, “Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again.”1 I hope it will be an inspiration to you as it was for me.
WHAT YOU GIVE AWAY MAY RETURN WITH MORE THAN YOU GAVE
There was a woman who was known for being very wise. One day she was walking in the mountains toward a village when she went to get a drink of water from a mountain stream. As she looked in, she saw a large, red stone that she knew was considered very precious. She reached in and took the stone and put it in the bag that hung from her shoulder. The next day she encountered a man who was coming the other way. As they met, he told her that he was very hungry and asked if she could share something from her bag. The wise woman gladly opened her bag to shared her food.
When she opened her bag, the hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman if she would give it to him so he could use it in the next village to buy some food. She quickly reached in her bag and gave him the precious stone without hesitation. The traveler continued on, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a long time.
After the wise lady concluded her visit to the village she was going to, she started on her way back home. Lo and behold, when she entered one of the villages on her way back, there was this traveler to whom she had given the stone waiting for her. He ran up to her and told her how happy he was to see her. He then shared with her that after they met he began to feel convicted. He knew how valuable the stone was and felt bad that he had taken if from her with such pretense. So he wanted to give it back to her in the hope that she would give him something even more precious. He asked her to please share with him what she had in her heart that made her to give him that stone without hesitation.
The wise woman smiled laughed. “Young man, there is nothing more for me to share with you. By returning the stone you have shown that you already have what is most precious, within yourself as well. You have an open heart of compassion. That is all you will ever need to make you a wise and happy man.”2
Some scholars say that the saying from Solomon about casting bread upon the waters came from the grain trade practiced by merchants along the Mediterranean Sea. It referred to their loading up ships full of grain and shipping them off to foreign lands without any prepayment, in hopes that it would sell and bring back a good sum of gold or silver in return. So it was more of a statement of encouragement to be ready to give something away even without any guarantee that you will get anything in return. That’s the only way to find out if what you have is valuable enough for someone to pay you back.
So what do we pilgrims on our way to heaven have to give away that may bring a similar return that we find in this story? What bread or grain do we have that others may find valuable enough to return something of equal value? If I were to pick anything from Scripture to answer this question, it would be that precious stone Jesus gave His disciples to take with them. He said, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind, and love your neighbor as you love yourself.” – Dr. Robert R Seyda
2From The Urantia Book teachings on Wisdom