Chapter-a-Day Ecclesiastes 4

Alone in the office. I turned my head and saw yet another wisp of smoke on its way to nothingness: a solitary person, completely alone—no children, no family, no friends—yet working obsessively late into the night, compulsively greedy for more and more, never bothering to ask, "Why am I working like a dog, never having any fun? And who cares?" More smoke. A bad business. Ecclesiastes 4:7-8 (MSG)

My job is a bit different than most. I have a home office and often work odd hours. Several years ago I had a client who would call my office at 9:30 or 10:00 at night. Since I have a home office, I would sometimes be cleaning up some business before bed or else I would hear the phone ring, wonder why someone was calling so late and answer the phone. 

"Tom! That's what I love about you," my client would say when I answered, "You're the only one I can call at this time of night and I know you'll answer!"

My client would ask me some inane question about a report I'd done or ask my advice on some trivial business matter. I suspect, however, that he was really just feeling alone. He would be in his office, by himself, still working. He had been there since before dawn. I soon learned that he really had no where else to go. His family had moved hundreds of miles away to be near family. I guess they figured they never saw him, anyway. As Solomon put it, it was "a bad business."

A virtue, like hard work, when it is pushed to the extreme, can quickly become a vice that will squeeze life right out of you.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and jimfrazier

One thought on “Chapter-a-Day Ecclesiastes 4”

  1. 12 By yourself you’re unprotected.
    With a friend you can face the worst.
    Can you round up a third?
    A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.
    Over the past few years God has really emphasized to me the importance of accountability in my life. It started spiritually, moved into the physical and both of these translated into the emotional. What started as one person to hold me accountable has turned into at least 3 strands, maybe 4. I feel this scripture to be true. I feel like I am part of a rope that CANNOT be broken. In times of uncertainty, I have a peace because I know that my brothers have my back. It is an unbelievable gift that God has given me and I praise him for it.

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