“It is good and proper for a man to eat and drink,
and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor.” (Eccl. 5:18)
A vacationing businessman standing on the pier of a
quaint coastal fishing village in southern Mexico watched as a young Mexican
fisherman pulled in his small boat. Inside the boat were several large yellow-fin tuna. Enjoying the warmth of the
early afternoon sun, the American complimented the Mexican on the quality of
his fish. "How long did it take you to catch them?" the American
casually asked. "Oh, a few hours," the Mexican fisherman replied.
"Why don't you stay out longer and catch more fish?" The Mexican warmly replied,
"With this I have more than enough to support my family's needs."
The businessman asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your
fisherman answered, "I sleep late, play with my children, watch ballgames,
and take siesta with my wife. See my friends in the
evening, and play the guitar, sing a few
songs..." The businessman impatiently interrupted, "Look, I have an
MBA from Harvard, and I can help you to build a business. You fish several hours longer every day. You
can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra money, you can buy a
bigger boat. With the additional income, before long you can buy a second
boat, then a third one, and so on, until you have an entire fleet of fishing
The businessman was excited about his grand scheme,
"Then, instead of selling your catch to a middleman you'll be able to
sell your fish directly to the processor, or even open your own cannery.
Eventually, you could control the product, processing and distribution. You
could be rich and move to the big city." The fisherman asked: “How long it will take to achieve that?”
"Probably about 20-30 years, maybe
less if you work really hard." "And then what, señor?"
asked the fisherman. “Then you can sale
your business and retire, move to a quaint coastal fishing village where
you could sleep late, play with your grandchildren, watch ballgames, and take
siesta with your wife.” The fisherman
said: “Then what different it makes from my life now?”
What is the meaning of a toilsome labor
life? If we work hard just to have more money and lose everything else that
is good and worthy?