John G. Wendel and his sisters received a huge inheritance from their parents.

They spent very little of it and did all they could to keep their wealth for themselves.

John was able to influence five of his six sisters never to marry.  They lived in the same house in New York City for 50 years.

When the last sister died in 1931, her estate was valued at more than $100 million.  Her only dress was one she had made for herself.  She had worn it for 25 years.

What sad, shriveled-up souls!

In the name of what?   Godly thrift?  Good money-management?   Sound stewardship?

No!  In the name of selfishness!  The “greed which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5)!  False security!  The stupid notion that one can hitch up a U-Haul to the hearse!

Our examination of the life and times of King Solomon brings us today to the subject of his great wealth.

It is most likely at the end of his life that Solomon looked back over his shoulder and wrote in Ecclesiastes:   “Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again.”

It has a beautiful ring to it.  But what does it mean?  Wouldn’t it be rather pointless to throw a loaf of Wonder Bread on the Mississippi?

In saying, “Cast your bread upon the water,” Solomon is talking about an act of trade or commerce – shipping bread, that is grain, over the waters to distant lands.

The Bible says that Solomon “had a fleet of trading ships…Once every year it returned carrying gold, silver and ivory, and apes and baboons.”  His ships may have gone as far as India.

The merchant casts his bread upon the waters with a profit in view – “After many days you will find it again.”

But there are risks involved.  The ship may never reach its destination.  Storms may destroy the cargo.  Pirates may hijack the fleet.  The economy may head south and reduce hoped-for returns.  But the risks are worth it.  So is our investment in caring for our loved ones, helping our neighbors, sharing the gospel.  “So is my word that goes out from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty,” says God  (Isaiah 55:11).   Cast your bread upon the waters and see if it is not so!