4 I have seen that every labor and every skill which is done is the result of rivalry between a man and his neighbor. This too is vanity and striving after wind. 5 The fool folds his hands and consumes his own flesh. 6 One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after wind.
In this passage we see three different mixtures of work and rest. One person chooses to avoid work, one has a healthy balance between work and rest and one works too much.
In verse 5 the foolish person takes a lazy extreme. He chooses to fold his hands and to avoid work. He did not get a lay off which caused him to be out of work through no fault of his own. He was unwilling to work and provide for himself. In his case his poverty is his own fault.
In verse 6 the next person balances work and rest. One handful of rest suggests that he has one handful of rest and one handful of work. He has a balance between a time of work and a time of rest.
The third person which is also in verse 6 has two handfuls of work. He works too much and does not rest from his work when he should do so. Whatever is motivating him to be a workaholic is robbing him of needed rest. Sin can be a hard task master that drives us and deprives us of needed rest. But God doesn't drive us like a task master. God leads us to work and He also leads us to times of needed rest too.
Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (www.lockman.org)
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