International Standard Version
Preparing for the Future
11 Spread your bread on the water—
after a while you will find it.
2 Apportion what you have into seven, or even eight parts,
because you don’t know what disaster might befall the land.
3 If the clouds are full of rain,
they will pour out on the earth;
if a tree falls toward the south or the north,
wherever it falls, there it will lay.
4 Whoever keeps staring at the wind won’t sow;
whoever daydreams[a] won’t reap.
5 Just as you do not understand the way of the spirit
in the[b] womb of a pregnant mother,
so also you do not know
what God is doing in everything he makes.
6 Sow your seed in the morning,
and don’t stop working[c] until evening,
since you don’t know which of your endeavors will do well,
whether this one or that,
or even if both will do equally well.
Preparing for Old Age
7 How sweet is the daylight, and how pleasant it is for someone’s eyes to behold the sunshine! 8 Even if a person lives many years, let him enjoy them all, recalling that there will be many days of darkness to come—all of which are pointless. 9 So enjoy yourself in your youth, young man, and be encouraged during your younger days. Live as you like, consistent with your world view, but keep in mind that God will bring you to account for everything. 10 Banish sorrow from your heart, and evil from your body, since both childhood and the prime of life[d] are pointless.