HUGH HEFNER WAS A MODERN DAY KING SOLOMON AND I TOLD HIM THAT OVER AND OVER (PART 17) Letter from 2-21-16 (Letters were inspired by the sermon series on ECCLESIASTES in 2016 at FELLOWSHIP BIBLE CHURCH in Little Rock)

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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.

Chasing the Wind
Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-26
August 18, 2013
“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is
meaningless. I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. I devoted myself to study and to
explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on men! I
have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after
the wind. I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the
one who comes after me. And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will
have control over all the work into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This
too is meaningless. So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun. For a
man may do his work with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then he must leave all he owns to
someone who has not worked for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune. What does a
man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun? All his days his
work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless. A man can
do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from
the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? To the man who pleases him,
God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and
storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing
after the wind.”
As a child, did you ever try to catch the wind? You ran, you grabbed, you might even
have tried to sneak up on it, but you never succeeded. In the book of Ecclesiastes,
Solomon tells us that if we approach life without God, our efforts to find joy and meaning
in life are nothing more than chasing after the wind.
Solomon tried to achieve joy, happiness, and meaning through every avenue available
to him, but in the end he concluded that, without God in his life, he would never find
what he was after. Worn to a frazzle and throughly frustrated, Solomon concludes:
“Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless” (Ec 1:2 NIV).
People chase many different winds in their search for fulfillment in this life. However, in
the end, life without God is meaningless. Some people learn this and find, in God,
everything they’ve been looking for. Others go to their graves with the answer to life still
beyond their grasp.
There are those people who believe satisfaction lies in one’s occupation, but Solomon
warns: “What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under
the sun? All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is
meaningless” (Ec 2:22-23 NIV).
Do you understand what Solomon is saying? Work, work, work. Compete, strategize,
plan, sacrifice, travel, worry, lose sleep, skip vacations, add hours, increase
responsibility, scratch the right backs, invest, save, risk, work, work, work!
After all of that, your life will have meaning and fulfillment, right? Don’t count on it.
Scripture tells us it doesn’t work. Solomon says that all the money he had, all the hours,
all the plans, all the years of study, and all the investments of time and energy made no
difference in the end. Without God at the center of his life, his life was empty and
meaningless.
Dennis Barnhart was the president of an aggressive company called Eagle Computers,
Inc. The company grew incredibly fast from its meager beginning. Barnhart became a
multi-millionaire on the day of his company’s public stock offering. While driving his red
Ferrari home that day, he lost control of the car, drove through 20 feet of guardrail into a
ravine and died.
The newspaper account of the accident read: Until about 4:30 Wednesday afternoon, it
had been the best of days for Barnhart and his thriving young company. Barnhart’s
ownership of 592,000 shares in his little company made him worth nine million dollars.
That same afternoon he died in an auto accident.
Wealth, ambition, hard word, fame, and status are all just shadows in this life. Like a
vapor they are all blown away. The only thing you can take from this life is your
relationship with God.
Some folks pursue the wind of pleasure. Solomon writes: “A man can do nothing better
than to eat and drink and find satisfaction … this too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind” (Ec
2:24, 26 NIV).
How could Solomon be so sure about this? He speaks from personal experience.
Earlier in chapter two, Solomon writes: “I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused
my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my
labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun” (Ec 2:10-11
NIV).
Many people would agree that if hard work isn’t the key to a meaningful life, then why
not sit back, relax, and enjoy the pleasures of life. The Epicureans of ancient Greece
lived by the motto “Eat, drink, and be merry.” The Greeks called it “eros” from which we
get our work “erotic.”
The hedonistic, Hugh Hefner philosophy of personal pleasure above all else is very
attractive to many people. But, in the end, does it work? That lifestyle is contrary to what
God wants from us, therefore, it can’t succeed. It, too, is just a chasing after the wind.
This brings us to the wind of wealth. What about all the things that money can buy to
make our lives meaningful and enjoyable? Solomon tried that, too. “I undertook great
projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. I made gardens and parks and planted
all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. I bought
male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more
herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. I amassed silver and gold for myself, and
the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired men and women singers, and a harem as well –
the delights of the heart of man. I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me” (Ec
2:4-9 NIV).
Sadly, all of this left Solomon empty. It was all meaningless. His boredom was beyond
description. He was like the man in the Gospel lesson. In the end, these things added
nothing to his soul.
To the lie that says, “If only I can earn enough, buy this or have that, I will be happy,”
Solomon says, “Don’t bother, it doesn’t work.” Have you ever known anyone who earns
enough, is beautiful enough, has clothes enough, has a house that is furnished enough,
has food that is fancy enough, has relationships that are satisfying enough, or a life that
is always full enough? Solomon says: “Whoever loves money never has money enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless” (Ec 5:10 NIV).
E. Stanley Jones, in his book Growing Spiritually, talks about a fictional character who
lived a fantasy life. All he had to do was think of it and – poof! – it happened! So the
man leans back and imagines a mansion and – Poof! – he has a 15 bedroom mansion
with servants to wait on his every need. But the place needed several fine cars, so
again he closes his eyes and – poof! – there they were.
He continues the same lifestyle with travel and fine foods and women and
entertainment. And yet, there was something missing. He wasn’t happy. Finally, he
grows so terribly bored and unchallenged that he whispers to one of his attendants, “I
really want to get out of this. I want to get my old life back again. I’d rather be in hell
than be here.” To which one of the servants replies quietly, “Sir, where do you think you
are?”
Living the life of this world, chasing the winds of self-fulfillment, is useless. There is
nothing on this earth that can fill the need in an empty soul. But God offers us a better
way. In spite of our selfish and sinful attempts to be our own answer, God graciously
gives us a new way of life. God goes beyond our horizontal direction of life and gives us
a vertical direction that points to our Savior.
In the final chapter of Ecclesiastes, Solomon points us to that vertical direction:
Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years
approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them” (Ec 12:1 NIV). This is an ultimate truth:
You cannot go through life without the Lord, because it simply doesn’t work.
Left to our own resources, life will be meaningless. It can be nothing else. True meaning
and direction can only be found in God. The only source for a meaningful life is Jesus
Christ.
When the human race decided to turn away from God and seek meaning on its own,
God didn’t turn away from us. When God had every right to let us suffer the
consequences of our own choices, he chose to come to us in the person of Jesus. He
came to take the punishment of our sins upon himself so we might see the path to real
life.
Jesus came to take away our horizontal direction; our lives of frustration and despair
and chasing after the wind. He came to save us from false hopes and false dreams;
from the lies of Satan, the world, and our own sinful flesh.
When Jesus died and rose, he restored our vertical orientation; he restored our
relationship with our heavenly Father. Jesus opened the door to real life both in the here
and now and in the hereafter.
Neither you nor I will ever be able to catch the wind. We will never find true meaning
living the life of this world, and that’s okay, because God has given his Son so that we
might find our meaning in him.

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.

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,

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Ben Parkinson

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and Brandon Barnard.

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Today’s letter is based on a sermon by Brandon Barnard.

 

February 21, 2016

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

Dear Mr. Hefner,

In the entry HUGH M. HEFNER, Encyclopedia of World Biography | 2004,  are the following words:

Hugh Hefner

Hugh Hefner (born 1926), founder and publisher of Playboy magazine, helped usher in a new era of openness in American Culture.

The immediate success of the magazine prompted Hefner to establish a proper office and staff for the magazine, and as of the fourth issue the Playboy empire was officially under way. Hefner’s devotion to the magazine in its early years precipitated the breakup of his marriage: Hefner and his wife Millie were separated in 1957 and divorced in 1959. As he and his wife became increasingly estranged, Hefner and his associates began to embody the life-style about which they wrote, having almost weekly parties at the Playboy editorial offices. When the success of the magazine came to the attention of the mainstream public, Hefner was happy to portray himself as the playboy his magazine described. In 1959 he even hosted the television series “Playboy’s Penthouse,” a weekly talk show set in a bachelor pad, featuring plenty of the magazine’s “playmates” and celebrities such as comedian Lenny Bruce and singers Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole.

Pursuit of Pleasure

For Hefner, his magazine and image were responses to the new mood of the country. He felt that the puritan ethic was eroding and that the pursuit of pleasure and material gain was the way of life for many Americans. As Hefner has been quoted, “If you had to sum up the idea of Playboy, it is antipuritanism. Not just in regard to sex, but the whole range of play and pleasure.” For many the Playboy philosophy proved to be a welcome antidote from the repressive atmosphere of the 1950s. Over the years it has continued to have its followers, and Hefner’s small magazine for men has become an empire extending well beyond magazine publishing.

It may be ironic but on 2-14-16 our teaching pastor at FELLOWSHIP BIBLE CHURCH Brandon Barnard named his sermon IS THERE VANITY IN PLEASURE? (Valentine’s Day!!!!).
If there was one word to describe your life the word PLEASURE is probably that word. As you know I have written you every week since October of 2015 in the hope that you will be willing to reflect back on your life of pleasure UNDER THE SUN like King Solomon did and see what proper reflections your life has rendered. Francis Schaeffer has rightly noted concerning you that your goal  with the “playboy mentality is just to smash the puritanical ethnic.” In fact, in your own personal life you definitely have gone the opposite direction of Puritanism.
(Francis and Edith Schaeffer pictured below)
Here are just a few points from Brandon’s sermon today from Ecclesiastes chapter 2:
Solomon said to his heart PURSUE PLEASURE AND DON’T WITHHOLD ANYTHING. This passage talks about LAUGHTER, WINE, GARDENS, ART and all the things he consumed that would bring him pleasure and indeed they did bring pleasure to him for a season, but in the end it was all VANITY, EMPTINESS, and MEANINGLESS. 
Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 The Message (MSG)

1-3 I said to myself, “Let’s go for it—experiment with pleasure, have a good time!” But there was nothing to it, nothing but smoke.

What do I think of the fun-filled life? Insane! Inane!
    My verdict on the pursuit of happiness? Who needs it?
With the help of a bottle of wine
    and all the wisdom I could muster,
I tried my level best
    to penetrate the absurdity of life.
I wanted to get a handle on anything useful we mortals might do
    during the years we spend on this earth.

I Never Said No to Myself

4-8 Oh, I did great things:

    built houses,
    planted vineyards,
    designed gardens and parks
        and planted a variety of fruit trees in them,
    made pools of water
        to irrigate the groves of trees.
I bought slaves, male and female,
        who had children, giving me even more slaves;
    then I acquired large herds and flocks,
        larger than any before me in Jerusalem.
I piled up silver and gold,
        loot from kings and kingdoms.
I gathered a chorus of singers to entertain me with song,
    and—most exquisite of all pleasures—
    voluptuous maidens for my bed.

9-10 Oh, how I prospered! I left all my predecessors in Jerusalem far behind, left them behind in the dust. What’s more, I kept a clear head through it all. Everything I wanted I took—I never said no to myself. I gave in to every impulse, held back nothing. I sucked the marrow of pleasure out of every task—my reward to myself for a hard day’s work!

I Hate Life

11 Then I took a good look at everything I’d done, looked at all the sweat and hard work. But when I looked, I saw nothing but smoke. Smoke and spitting into the wind. There was nothing to any of it. Nothing.

YOU AND I WERE HARDWIRED TO PURSUE OUR OWN PLEASURE. 
That is interesting because some people in the church feel a little bit guilty about this and they think that our lives should be only about suffering and surrendering when it comes to following Christ, but that statement shouldn’t take you by surprise. Solomon said he didn’t deny himself anything. 
People are looking for pleasure in their relationships and in food and in their cars, clothes, houses and travel. Pleasure is a gift from God. 
1 Corinthians 10:31English Standard Version (ESV)

31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Whether it is beauty such as gardens or art or if it is sex in the confines of marriage, whether it is hobbies like golf or hunting. Yet if you make these things the point of life and the goal then ultimately it doesn’t lead to joy but to destruction. These are things that are meant to point us to the pleasure of knowing Christ. 

Blaise Pascal said, “All men seek happiness, this without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end.” 

Proverbs 14:13English Standard Version (ESV)

13 Even in laughter the heart may ache,
    and the end of joy may be grief.

If pleasure doesn’t find it’s end in Christ then it will not ultimately satisfy. 

Saint Augustine observed, “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.” 

(Below is the young Augustine of Hippo)

The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.

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 19th 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. Today we looked at your quote “If you had to sum up the idea of Playboy, it is antipuritanism. Not just in regard to sex, but the whole range of play and pleasure.” Solomon tried your lifestyle and your ANTIPURITANISM and he concluded “I saw nothing but smoke. Smoke and spitting into the wind. There was nothing to any of it. Nothing.”

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