Next I turned my attention to all the outrageous violence that takes place on this planet - the tears of the victims, no one to comfort them; the iron grip of oppressors, no one to rescue the victims from them.
So I congratulated the dead who are already dead instead of the living who are still alive.
But luckier than the dead or the living is the person who has never even been, who has never seen the bad business that takes place on this earth.
Then I observed all the work and ambition motivated by envy. What a waste! Smoke. And spitting into the wind.
The fool sits back and takes it easy, His sloth is slow suicide.
One handful of peaceful repose Is better than two fistfuls of worried work - More spitting into the wind.
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.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)