Recently my pastor gave a somewhat different take on it. "Casting your bread on the waters," he said, "is to release yourself. To give freely of your time, your talent, your treasure, and your spiritual gift, not expecting anything back."
Here's a passage from my journal, which includes excerpts from my class notes:
I'm to have the same mind as my Lord. I do the work as unto Him, not for the praise of people, because if it really is significant work, they'll probably be unable to give it anyway. I do it, not expecting (craving?) response or approval, but knowing it's something I give to them freely because I choose to and want to. You give freely, lavishly and you don't expect anything back. Not praise, not good reviews, not even remuneration. Because that's how God works: He reaches out to the world and keeps reaching out whether the world responds or not. In fact, mostly the world doesn't respond.
In the parable of the sower, the seed was sown, in most cases, without positive results. But the Lord doesn't say, 'Only sow your seed among those that you think will respond and don't waste time on those you think won't.' Seventy-five percent of his hearers did not respond to the parable of the sower. That's not the issue. The issue is to be obedient. So what if they laugh at you or mock or reject you? Leave the results to God and keep on sowing.
Learn to look at the things you've done in terms of the influence you've had on people's lives. You're giving yourself, your talent, your gift. Don't do it for money or acclaim. Don't wait for letters of thank you. You shouldn't expect to benefit for every good thing you do in people's lives. We must give to give, not to get.
We must give to give. Not to get.
That's the mind of Christ.