My dad was an entrepreneur and over the course of his life was involved in at least a dozen business ventures. As a result, he experienced a lot of what Solomon referred to as “sore travail” (Ecclesiastes 4:8). Solomon said, “For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is know by a multitude of words” (Ecclesiastes 5:3). I think my dad believed in the American Dream, the idea that a person can go from rags to riches if he is willing to work hard and pay his dues. At the time of his death, my dad owned properties that he estimated to be worth about $300,000. It was a fortune to him, but insignificant compared to the current value of the first home he and my mom bought 50 years ago. They lost the house in a bankruptcy due to a failed business.
I think there are many people who work more than is really necessary and those who don’t work enough. In my own case, I worked very hard for 14 years and then I retired. I realized toward the end of my career that I didn’t have a life outside of work, and if I didn’t do something about it, I was going to end up like my dad, alone and miserable.
Solomon said, “If a man beget an hundred children and live many years, so that the days of his years be many, and his soul be not filled with good, and also that he have no burial; I say, that an untimely birth is better than he” (Ecclesiastes 6:3). What Solomon was implying was that none of the man’s hundred children cared enough about him to give him a decent burial, therefore, his life was a waste.