“Better a handful with quietness than both hands full, together with toil and grasping for the wind.” – Ecclesiastes 4:4.
King Solomon was the wisest and richest man to ever live yet he said it was all vanity if it is not for God. We labor and toil for more every day looking for the next raise or next best thing. Solomon here says it is better to have just what you need and live a simple life than push and strive for more.
Solomon goes on, “…yet there is no end to all his labors, nor is his eye satisfied with riches. But he never asks, ‘for whom do I toil and deprive myself of good?’ This also is vanity and grave misfortune” Ecclesiastes 4:8. Solomon is simply saying, “why are you stressing yourself out chasing after riches and depriving yourself of joy with your family and time with God?”
Laboring to provide for the family is good and it is biblical. In fact, the Bible tells us we are worse than a non-believer if we do not provide. We are not only to provide for the physical, but also provide for our loved ones spiritually and with the giving of our time.
We work hard to bring in the paycheck and that is good. But when the work day is done, are we working hard to spend time with Jesus, our husband or wife, our children? Are we praying together and “washing with the water of the word?” Solomon had it all but tells us it is nothing without Jesus. It is nothing if we are not pouring our lives into others. It has been said, “the busier I get, the more time I need with Jesus.” Have you spent time with your Lord today or are you laboring and toiling and chasing after the wind?
“The only reason these people perfected their skills and worked hard at their jobs was to compete with others and make more money than their neighbors. The purpose of their work was not to produce beautiful or useful products, or to help people, but to stay ahead of the competition and survive in the battle for bread. God did not put this “selfishness factor” into human labor; it’s the result of sin in the human heart. We covet what others have; we not only want to have those things, but we want to go beyond and have even more.” – Warren Wiersbe