“Necessity is the mother of invention,” is an old saying. Invention is the twin sibling of achievement. Verse 4 reveals the father of necessity and achievement. “All labor and all achievement spring from envy (jealousy) of his neighbor.” Covet is a half-sibling of envy.
What then are jealousy and envy? Jealousy is an emotion and mood; apparently, a powerful one to result is so much chasing after the wind.
Two main definitions of jealousy are “resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage, etc., or against another’s success or advantage itself,” and “mental uneasiness from suspicion or fear of rivalry, unfaithfulness, etc., as in love or aims.”
The conscience battlefield finds want and needs standing off against each other. Do I want that? Or do I need that? Do I envy my neighbor or rival? Or do I celebrate success with a friend and colleague?
A mantra of advertising is, “Create a need so that desire gives birth to profit.” Another mantra is, “Awake envy so that a fashion statement gives birth to more profit.”
So a need requires money and envy requires even more money. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind (4). Doing nothing is the failure of many fools (5). And toiling hard just to impress a rival is just as destructive and meaningless (6). In the end both never satisfy, bring peace and contentment, and both are just as destructive.
Jesus declared, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28–30).