Ecclesiastes 4:4–12 (NKJV)
4 Again, I saw that for all toil and every skillful work a man is envied by his neighbor. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.
5 The fool folds his hands
And consumes his own flesh.
6 Better a handful with quietness
Than both hands full, together with toil and grasping for the wind.
7 Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun:
8 There is one alone, without companion:
He has neither son nor brother.
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 a grave misfortune.
9 Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Work can be rewarding, but envy from others can make the reward futile. The fool, though, decides not to work and consumes himself. A little with peace is more than plenty with stressful searching. Solomon still is not sure that work is worth it. He then moves to the need for a relationship. One who is alone works himself silly, but has no one to share it with. Such misfortune!
Beginning in verse 9, we see the value of companionship. Two work better than one. They lift one another up and are more productive. Two can help one another stay warm. Two can resist an attacker. One cannot do any of these. A threefold cord is not easily broken. There is strength in numbers. A team is better than an individual. There is no “I” in team. All these phrases reek of cliche, but they have great truth for life. Don’t be a loner. Walk with friends and see the life get richer!