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Watching the Wind

“He who keeps watch over the wind will not sow; he who gazes at the clouds will not reap.”

(Ecclesiastes 11:4)

As we have done with these proverbs, we begin with a practical application. If you spend all of your time watching the weather and fretting over whether it will rain tomorrow or whether the winds will blow down the stalks of grain or corn, then you will likely never end up getting out in the field to work. Something that just about any farmer will tell you is that farming is a massive gamble because you plan ahead for the following year’s seed often before this year’s crops come off and always before you have any idea as to what the following year’s weather will look like. It is a huge challenge, but without those willing to take the risks needed, none of us would have food on our tables. So, we should always be grateful for those men and women who farm the soil.

There is a principle that everyone can learn here as we observe our farmers. Indeed, we all find ourselves at times in our lives where we need to make a decision — do I attempt this business venture, do I ask this woman to be my bride, do I relocate my family to this or that part of the country (or world!). These are all decisions that have consequences that will affect you and your family for years to come, so they ought to be thought out and prayed out well. Yet, if you spend all of your time thinking and contemplating, then there is a good chance you will watch the opportunity go by, just as you watch the wind blow away the clouds. Beloved, changing the world (or your life) begins by acting when opportunities arise.

There is another application that is worth noting. The word רוּחַ (ruach) in this context, is most naturally translated as “wind,” but the word also means “spirit.” Who is the one who watches over the spirit of man? That, of course, is God himself. And what of this matter of God not sowing? Indeed, while God will call all of His elect to himself in His time, he uses men to plant the seed of the Gospel in the hearts of his own. Indeed, it is our responsibility (and privilege!) to plant the seeds of the Gospel wherever we go and in all of the nations of the world. Those who would sit back and say, “If God wants to call someone to faith, let God bring them to my church,” are sinning and need to repent. They are also robbing themselves of the joy of actively laboring in Christ’s fields. God watches over the souls of his own and brings new birth when the time is right but he uses faithful believers to sow the seed of the Word in the lives of men. Be that faithful sower, friend, and be faithful to the one who watches over your spirit as well.