In our study of Ecclesiastes chapter eleven, we look at the meaning and some characteristics of faith. The Hebrew word that is translated as faith is the word emunah and it comes from the root word aman. Aman means to securely trust or rely on something and it is where we get the word "amen". This chapter will show us what this trust looks like in real life.
"Ship your grain across the sea; after many days you may receive a return." NIV translation
Until recently shipping and sailing the high seas was a risky but profitable business. A commercial voyage by sea takes time and so payment is usually delayed until the goods are delivered. The shipper knows that payment is coming but only if the goods make it to their destination. Here, we see that faith in God involves taking what appears to be risks. We also see that true faith is trusting God even when reward is delayed. If you are serving the Lord, there will be many people that oppose you and you may not have massive amounts of support or help. Even so, the faithful press on because we trust God when He says that our reward is coming.
"Invest in seven ventures, yes in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land." NIV translation
A good business person does not "put all of their eggs in one basket". The same is true for those who are serving the Lord. As Paul said (1 Co. 9:22), we serve in many ways because we do not know which thing God is going to use to reach someone. This demonstrates our faith as many times it requires us to step outside of our comfort zone. We must trust God's leadership through the Holy Spirit as well as His provision.
"If clouds are full of water, they pour rain on the earth. Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where it falls, there it will lie. Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap." NIV translation
Trusting God involves taking one step at a time starting from where you are at. Many people become paralyzed with the thought of what might be and waiting for the perfect conditions. Just as a farmer that waits for the perfect condition to plant will not have a crop, the same is true for a Christian that waits for the perfect time to start serving the Lord.