One good turn deserves another
“Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.” – Ecclesiastes 11:1
Some years ago, I came across an interesting article from the Times of The Islands Magazine from Turks and Caicos Islands. There was a contribution called “Island Culture” concerning folk tales and storytelling. David Bowen, cultural officer for the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board at the time had this to say, “The art of storytelling [or, as the old folks say talking of stories], like much of our cultural heritage is hardly ever practiced these days. We are a nation of short attention spans, addicts to the quick thrill. The TV and cable remote control are forever taking us from one adventure to another in the wink of an eye. We never seem to be satisfied with one program, we have to see it all, and the less we use our imagination the better. It is easy to see why the simple art of the oral tradition of storytelling is almost extinct not only here, in the Turks and Caicos, but all over the world. People simply have no time to sit and listen.
Continuing, Mr. Bowen said: “In the past, the oral tradition of storytelling was the way information was passed down from generation to generation. The animal stories in the Caribbean have links to African-American tales of the Uncle Remus tradition; our British and European connection brought stories by Hans Christian Anderson such as the Little Mermaid and Aesop’s Fables with their ancient Greek roots and wonderful morals and lessons.”
He then went on to give an example of “Aesop’s Fables” with the story of “The Ant and the Dove.” An ant going to a river to drink, fell in, and was carried along in the stream. A dove, seeing this, plucked a leaf from a tree and let it fall close to the ant. The ant climbed onto it and floated safely to the bank. Shortly afterwards the ant saw a man aiming a slingshot at the dove and stung him on the foot sharply, making him to miss his aim and so saved the dove’s life. The moral – one good turn deserves another or little friends many prove great friends.
The Bible is the greatest book of stories for both young and old, and there are many morals too. But like Mr. Bowen said in his article about the art of storytelling becoming obsolete, so is it true about others, especially parents telling the beautiful stories of the Bible to their children. How many parents are taking the time to read at bedtime, stories from the Old and New Testament. In place, the TV and other gadgets, games and especially cell phones take control of their young and inquiring minds. Children are left to raise themselves mostly. Let us tell the wonderful stories of how we came from the pit to the palace of achievement, prominence and notoriety and social nobility.
The language of Ecclesiastes is unique. The writer of the books, David’s son, King Solomon, demonstrates the vanity of all things, that life is full of disappointment for man unless he makes the approval of God his great object, knowing that after death there is a judgment.
In our text today, there is a call for us to put some bread on the waters of our lives so that the flow will bring it back to us. There are many that are only concerned about putting bread on the tables of their families and friends without any thought of the table of others placed in the category of less fortunate.
Indeed, the call is not only urgent, but of the utmost necessity, that as a nation, a people, families, neighbors, friends and individuals to extend the hand of kindness to others. There are so many areas where that hand of kindness may be extended. I speak abundant blessings to all those who have been the hand where need was most.
Cast thy bread; yes, cast. It is not time to be stingy and possess the hoarding spirit. It is time to give of your service, your love, your due diligence, your motherly and fatherly advice, your upward advancement of the careers of others, your encouragement, your knowledge upon the waters of the lives of others.
I was at Panera Bread the other day in Florida and saw where they were celebrating 20 years in business and had given back to the community $125 million during the years. How many businesses really give back to the community – and I am not talking about the samples and coupons that come with large orders. Hardly any bread is given back – especially to the inner city where they have gotten filthy rich off the poor. I would not talk about Targets because they post every week millions of dollars given to further education. A clarion call is given today for all and sundry to begin to cast whatever bread, even pancake and Johnny bread upon the waters of the marginalized, the dispossessed, needy and suffering and desist from being greedy and eating up all the bread.