HUGH HEFNER WAS A MODERN DAY KING SOLOMON AND I TOLD HIM THAT OVER AND OVER (PART 14) Letter from 1-17-16 (Letters were inspired by the sermon series on ECCLESIASTES in 2016 at FELLOWSHIP BIBLE CHURCH in Little Rock)

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Image result for hugh hefner younger days

Over and over I have read that Hugh Hefner was a modern day King Solomon and Hefner’s search for satisfaction was attempted by adding to the number of his sexual experiences.

REMEMBERING GOD:THE KEY TO A PROFITABLE LIFE

The Futility of Pleasure Seeking

Ecclesiastes 2:1-11

Jerry A Collins

SCC

6/16/02

 

¨ Can anything on the earth really satisfy us?

Is there a difference between satisfaction and fulfillment?

Does God expect us to enjoy ourselves?

This may be hard to swallow but if you have set your heart on getting and enjoying the good life, it’s not worth it! Don’t waste your time dreaming about it or pursuing it. The beer commercials have got it all wrong. The endless commentary about investing on wall street is exhausting. John Gotti just died this week in prison of throat cancer. Princess Di lost her life very young. Hugh Hefner is an old man. Mick Jaggar is now Sir Mick. Brittany Speers has another record. Scotty Bowman just retired. Tiger Woods is playing in another major golf tournament. All of these people and many others are people we would define as living the good life. We idolize drunkenness, investing, power, glamour, sex, popularity, sensuality, success or prestige as evidence of the good life. King Solomon tried to find fulfillment from the good life too. He conducted an experiment to discover if there is anything of this world, to satisfy and fulfill the heart of a person. Before you take another step in this direction, consider the lessons Solomon learned from his experiment and search into personal and pleasure and the good life! He announces the goal and conclusion of his experiment in vss 1-2. Then he describes the means by which he sought and found pleasure himself in vss 3-10. Finally he relates this pursuit to the ultimate value of his accomplishments in vs 11. He begins with his conclusion.

1. PLEASURE HAS LITTLE VALUE 1-2

That it, while it may have some temporary, immediate value like relieving boredom and grief, it does not produce anything permanently or ultimately worthwhile. First, he states in vs 1 that in his quest to find something worthwhile in life he experimented with pleasure. What can I do that will make me happy all of my life? So he said to himself enjoy yourself. And that is what he did. He spent weeks, months and years on this quest. He went after laughter, pleasure, possessions, prosperity, power, prestige and sex. The palace halls were denied nothing, his courtiers and guests had the time of their lives and bountiful feasts according to 1 Kings 4:22-23 each day included 30 measures of fine flour, 60 measures of meal, 10 fat oxen, 20 oxen from pastures, 100 sheep, in addition harts, roebucks, gazelles and fattened fowl. This daily menu is estimated to have been able to feed at least 10 thousand people. Second, he states the result of this expansive search is that it was futile and meaningless. (1) All the laughter he enjoyed in this pursuit he calls madness. Laughter associated with pleasure and the good life is empty. Frivolity is foolish because the laughter deals only with the peripherals of life. there is not solid content to it (Ecc 7:6). It’s useless and a waste of time. (2) Of pleasure he asks What does it accomplish vs 2? What does it contribute to life? It only consumes resources we have worked hard for. The question implies a negative answer. This is the conclusion. It is not the conclusion of our world. Satan wants us to believe that it is better to mortgage our future for the present. How did he pursue pleasure and what did he learn?

2. PURSUING PLEASURE ONLY DELIVERS TEMPORARY SATISFACTION 3-10

First we learn that this experiment was exhaustive. He explored, enlarged, built, planted, made, possessed, collected, provided, did not refuse and exerted himself. No stone was left unturned in this experiment.

Second, it was not a mindless drive into hedonism. Wisdom he says guided him in vss 3 & 9 throughout the endeavor. With deliberateness, not blindly or in uncontrolled excess, he indulged himself. He is testing the effects of pleasure seeking and frivolity to see if it is worthwhile. This is a calculated experiment. with a purpose. He wanted to find out for himself if the things of this world can fill and empty heart vs 3. Life is short and how can we find satisfaction in that short span?

Third, he indulged himself in a variety of things. (1) He stimulated his body with wine v 3. He cheered himself with wine and he embraced folly or a foolish and frivolous lifestyle possibly associated with his wine drinking. Every Coors beer commercial is an example of this. It provides momentary satisfaction until the next weekend. (2) The good life included projects, parks and pools vss4-6. He tried his hand at architecture. His own house took 14 years to build and the Temple 7 years. He built houses for his wives. he engaged in agriculture developing luxuriant gardens and parks planted with orchards, filled with trees. He developed irrigation to provide for all of the landscaping. Building and landscaping provide momentary pleasure but then there are always things to fix, weeds to pull and new endeavors to grab our attention. (3) The good life included ownership and wealth 7-8. He had servants to wait on his every whim. He had ranches to provide diversion and investment in the raising of herds, flocks and livestock. He had bank accounts that provided him with all the money he would ever need. So great was Solomon’s fortune that silver and gold were regarded in Jerusalem as stones 1 Kings 10:27; 2 Chr 1:15. His annual income was over one million dollars in purchasing power. In fact he owned whatever he looked on and his look went everywhere. If it promised a fleeting moment of pleasure he tried it and he bought it. (4) The good life included entertainment and sex 8b-10. He hired his own private orchestra to soothe and entertain him on demand vs 8b. He also accumulated numbers of concubines, playmates all over the palace and in his harem to satisfy his sexual desires. Whatever caught his eye vs 10 he indulged in. If he saw a beautiful woman he added her to his harem. A fine thorobred to his stables. A newer model chariot he bought it. He indulged himself in every way and in everything. And he found pleasure in all of this and that alone was his reward. A momentary enjoyment that faded and passed until the next pleasure fix.

3. THE PURSUIT OF PLEASURE IS FUTILE 11

After a close evaluation of this lifestyle and pursuit, though some satisfaction was gained, the real value of what was accomplished was (1) vanity (empty) (2) striving after wind (meaningless) (3) no profit in life (ultimately profitless). We may never have the opportunity fame like this. we may never be a king or have stardom or offered a million dollar signing bonus. But there are lessons here for us.

(1) We can learn from the failure of others while we listen to the wisdom of God’s Word. The good life is really not so good. There is no ultimate profit in it. God says you had your reward I have none to give you. We have to take this by faith.

(2) Achieving, having, experiencing will not deliver significance and worth. That is only find in Christ ritely related to God.

(3) Absolutely nothing this side of grave can fill emptiness deliver full satisfaction.

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Many of the sermons that I heard or read that inspired me to write Hugh Hefner were from this list of gentlemen:  Daniel Akin, Brandon Barnard, Alistair Begg, Matt Chandler, George Critchley,  Steve Gaines, Norman L. Geisler, Greg Gillbert, Billy Graham, Mark Henry, Dan Jarrell, Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., R. G. Lee, C.S. Lewis Chris Lewis, Kerry Livgren, Robert Lewis,    Bill Parkinson, Ben Parkinson,Vance Pitman, Nelson Price, Ethan Renoe, Adrian Rogers, Philip Graham Ryken, Francis Schaeffer, Lee Strobel, Bill Wellons, Kirk Wetsell,  Ken Whitten, Ed Young ,  Ravi Zacharias, Tom Zobrist, and Richard Zowie.

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In the next few weeks I will be posting some letters that I sent to Hugh Hefner that were based primarily on the sermon series BETTER THAN which is a study in the BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES done by our pastors at FELLOWSHIP BIBLE CHURCH in Little Rock in 2016.  Our teaching pastors here are Mark Henry,

Image result for fellowship bible church mark henry

Ben Parkinson

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and Brandon Barnard.

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Today’s letter is based on a sermon by Mark Henry.

 

January 17, 2016

Hugh Hefner
Playboy Mansion  
10236 Charing Cross Road
Los Angeles, CA 90024-1815

Dear Mr. Hefner,

I recently read the article, “Playboy at 60: Hugh Hefner Looks Back,” The legendary publisher looks back on the first 25 years of his culture-changing creation by Scott Huver, and it started off with these words:

Looking back over his 87 years – 60 of which have been defined by his creation, Playboy – Hugh Hefner admits it took being a workaholic during his media empire’s formative years to transform him into an icon of sexual liberation and sophisticated indulgence.

I had been really consumed the first few years on the magazine – I had this phenomenal success on my hands,” Hefner remembers. “And I didn’t want to miss the party that I had created.”

You probably remember that last Sunday I wrote you about the sermon I heard at church from our series on the Book of Ecclesiastes. Today’s letter basically comes from this same sermon series because this week’s message from FELLOWSHIP BIBLE CHURCH dealt with the issue of work and what King Solomon had to say about it.

(Mark Henry pictured below)

Our teaching pastor Mark Henry in his sermon THE MIRROR OF WORK observed:

When you stare into the mirror of your work then you may ask “I AM SUCCESSFUL THEN WHY AM NOT HAPPY?” Many at the worship service today are very successful but do they still have this gnawing sense of emptiness and lack of satisfaction?  

The main character in the BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES is King Solomon who is outside of Jesus the wisest man in the Bible. This is a guy who amassed an incredible amount of wealth and power throughout his life and that set him on a journey in search of pleasure and happiness in the maze of life. What he discovered as he went down all of these different paths in search of pleasure and happiness in the maze of life, what he realized is THERE ALL ARE DEAD ENDS {IN LIFE UNDER THE SUN.} They just simply can not satisfy.

The simple message Solomon keeps bringing us back to is “JESUS IS BETTER THAN…”   Anything else we try to fill our lives up with is just going to be less than and that includes our work. 

Ecclesiastes 2:18-26English Standard Version (ESV) 

The Vanity of Toil

18 I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, 19 and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. 20 So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, 21 because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22 What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? 23 For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity.

24 There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment[a] in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, 25 for apart from him[b] who can eat or who can have enjoyment? 26 For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.

Solomon is not just talking about our jobs. He is also talking about everything we do in life which includes building a family, parenting kids, pursuing relationships, working on our communities and his  conclusion is that it is all vain toil. What Solomon is doing here is giving us a view of work UNDER THE SUN. It is a view where you see work as frustrating, hard and aggravating.  

Solomon is sitting back and looking at his whole life’s work UNDER THE SUN and he is saying it is just vanity. Ecclesiastes 2:23 “For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity.” In other words, our hearts can’t rest because we still haven’t found what we are looking for. We got a six figure salary and it is still not enough. A hundred promotions later we still will be hungry for more. We never achieve a lasting identity.

Your accomplishments will never answer your deepest questions. WHO AM I? WHY AM I HERE? DO I MATTER? AM I SIGNIFICANT?  Solomon is saying you will not find those answers on the back of your paycheck.

Madonna in an interview with VOGUE noted: 

“And all of my will has always been to conquer some horrible feeling of inadequacy. I’m always struggling with that fear. I push past one spell of it and discover myself as a special human being and then I get to another stage and think I’m mediocre and uninteresting. And I find a way to get myself out of that. Again and again. My drive in life is from this horrible fear of being mediocre. And that’s always pushing me, pushing me. Because even though I’ve become Somebody. I still have to prove that Somebody. My struggle has never ended and it probably never will.”

The need to achieve that Madonna talks about is very common unfortunately in our hearts but in Jesus there is a way out of this performance driven cycle. In Jesus you are here because a loving God created you with his own hands for his glory and your joy. The point of life is knowing God and resting in his perfect love for you. The more we see life from ABOVE THE SUN the more we see that we don’t have to try and get our identity from our work because we already have one [in Christ.]

___

HUGH you have tried looking at life UNDER THE SUN but shouldn’t you now take time to take a long look at the possibility of life ABOVE THE SUN?

Image result for francis schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer has correctly argued:

The universe was created by an infinite personal God and He brought it into existence by spoken word and made man in His own image. When man tries to reduce [philosophically in a materialistic point of view] himself to less than this [less than being made in the image of God] he will always fail and he will always be willing to make these impossible leaps into the area of nonreason even though they don’t give an answer simply because that isn’t what he is. He himself testifies that this infinite personal God, the God of the Old and New Testament is there. 

Instead of making a leap into the area of non-reason the better choice would be to investigate the claims that the Bible is a historically accurate book and that God created the universe and reached out to humankind with the Bible. Below is a piece of that evidence given by Francis Schaeffer and Dr. C. Everett Koop concerning the accuracy of the Bible.

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?, under footnote #95)

Two things should be mentioned about the time of Moses in Old Testament history.

The form of the covenant made at Sinai has remarkable parallels with the covenant forms of other people at that time. (On covenants and parties to a treaty, the Louvre; and Treaty Tablet from Boghaz Koi (i.e., Hittite) in Turkey, Museum of Archaeology in Istanbul.) The covenant form at Sinai resembles just as the forms of letter writings of the first century after Christ (the types of introductions and greetings) are reflected in the letters of the apostles in the New Testament, it is not surprising to find the covenant form of the second millennium before Christ reflected in what occurred at Mount Sinai. God has always spoken to people within the culture of their time, which does not mean that God’s communication is limited by that culture. It is God’s communication but within the forms appropriate to the time.

The Pentateuch tells us that Moses led the Israelites up the east side of the Dead Sea after their long stay in the desert. There they encountered the hostile kingdom of Moab. We have firsthand evidence for the existence of this kingdom of Moab–contrary to what has been said by critical scholars who have denied the existence of Moab at this time. It can be found in a war scene from a temple at Luxor (Al Uqsor). This commemorates a victory by Ramses II over the Moabite nation at Batora (Luxor Temple, Egypt).

Also the definite presence of the Israelites in west Palestine (Canaan) no later than the end of the thirteenth century B.C. is attested by a victory stela of Pharaoh Merenptah (son and successor of Ramses II) to commemorate his victory over Libya (Israel Stela, Cairo Museum, no. 34025). In it he mentions his previous success in Canaan against Aschalon, Gize, Yenom, and Israel; hence there can be no doubt the nation of Israel was in existence at the latest by this time of approximately 1220 B.C. This is not to say it could not have been earlier, but it cannot be later than this date.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.com, http://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, Box 23416, LittleRock, AR 72221

PS: This is the 14th letter I have written to you and again I have taken an aspect of your life and responded with what the Bible has to say on that subject. In this letter I also quoted your good friend Madonna. A little tidbit about Madonna and her former husband Guy Ritchie. They ran around with Prince William and Prince Harry quite often. Just recently in my old hometown of Memphis a girl by the name of Lizzy Wilson was married to the royals’ good friend Guy Pelly and they all came to Memphis for the wedding. Back in the 1980’s I used to get to visit at Hardware Shows with Lizzy’s grandfather Kemmons Wilson who was a founder of HOLIDAY INNS. Actually a relative of mine still works for the Wilson family trust and could have attended the wedding if he had chose to but he was not into royal watching.

Hugh Hefner getting to grips with Madonna at the launch party for the Music album in 2000.

Britain's Prince William, and Prince Harry, follow groom Thomas van Straubenzee

Big day: Prince William and Harry and Guy Pelly attending friend Thomas-van-Straubenzee’s wedding

Royals down South! Prince William and Prince Harry traveled to Memphis, Tenn. the weekend of May 2 for friend Guy Pelly‘s wedding to Lizzy Wilson.

Guy Pelly and Elizabeth Wilson arrive for their wedding rehearsal dinner at the Rendezvous BBQ restaurant

Wearing a country-style checkered shirt, William arrives for dinner with his entourage

Wearing a country-style checkered shirt, William arrives for dinner with his entourage in Memphis

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(Below: The handsome prince arrived at Rendezvous restaurant for a rehearsal dinner)

Wild about Harry: The handsome prince arrived at Rendezvous restaurant for a rehearsal dinner after flying into town from Miami, where he hung our in South Beach

 

_________

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