“If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there shall it be. He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap” (Ecclesiastes 11:3-4).
Farming has never been easy work, and this was especially true in ancient Israel. The Jews were faced with tilling a very hard, rocky soil. In addition, no one can predict the weather, let alone control it. Men who insist on certain things being just right or even just the most favorable conditions prior to acting will never get anything done.
Verse 3 in the passage quoted above is an observation of calamity. It pictures a farmer who is so terrified of storms that he never gets around to working in the field. The truth of the matter is that we often have to step out in faith and do something before we can foresee all we would like to know about the future. The farmer who waits until he is completely certain of perfect weather conditions will never plant or reap anything at all.
Verse 4 of our passage pictures one who is paralyzed by a concern for just the right circumstances before doing anything. In other words, if you wait for the perfect conditions, you’ll never get anything done. The wind is never right for the sower and the clouds are never right for the reaper.
I love the story about the old farmer, ragged and bare-footed, who sat on the steps of his tumbledown shack, chewing on a stem of grass. A passerby stopped and, wanting to be sociable, engaged the farmer in conversation.
“How is your cotton crop this year?”
“Ain’t got none,” replied the farmer.
“Didn’t you plant any cotton?” asked the stranger.
“Nope,” said the farmer, “afraid of boll weevils.”
“Well,” asked the passerby, “how’s your corn doing?”
“Didn’t plant none,” replied the farmer. “Afraid there wasn’t going to be enough rain.”
“Well,” asked the inquisitive stranger, “what did you plant?”
“Nothing,” said the farmer. “I just played it safe.”
A lot of well-intentioned people live by the philosophy of this farmer and never risk anything. They prefer to play it safe. These people will never know the thrill of victory, because to win a victory one must risk failure.
If you are looking for an excuse for doing nothing, you can find one every time. Billy Sunday said that an excuse was “the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie.”
God has already given us everything we need to be more than conquerors through Christ (Romans 8:37). He has given us the victory through the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57). Let’s not be guilty of “playing it safe” or waiting for perfect conditions before we attempt to do anything for God.
“Dear God, help me to courageously pursue everything you have for me! In Jesus’ name, Amen.”