2/28/19 – Pastor Brian’s Blog
If you are from New England, the name Robert Kraft means something. Not only is he the chairman and chief executive officer of the Kraft Group, a diversified holding company, Mr. Kraft also owns a Major League Soccer team, the New England Revolution. He also owns Gillette Stadium, the stadium in which the Revolution play their home games. As of September 2018, Mr. Kraft’s net worth was $6.6 billion. That would be 6,600,000,000.00 dollars!
That’s not a bad resume, but what Robert Kraft is best know for is being the owner of the 6-time Superbowl Champions, the New England Patriots. Yet these accomplishments don’t seem to be enough, as these were the headlines in this past Monday’s morning newspaper… “Police in Florida are expected to issue an arrest warrant Monday for New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. The 77-year-old Kraft is facing misdemeanor charges of soliciting a prostitute after authorities said he was twice videotaped in a sex act at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa, in Jupiter, Florida. Kraft, through his spokesman, has denied the charges.”
Let’s say for the moment that Mr. Kraft is innocent. Then I would ask the question: Why is he in a place like that in the first place?? Thinking about this brings my thoughts to Solomon.
According to the Bible, God entrusted Solomon to build the First Temple in Jerusalem. His name means “peaceful” and “friend of God.” It was Solomon that may be most famous for his unparalleled wisdom. God appeared to Solomon in a dream asking what he wanted from God. Solomon asked for wisdom, and God was so pleased with his request that God promised him great wisdom.
Solomon was also the author of the biblical books of Ecclesiastes and The Song of Solomon, as well as being a major contributor to the book of Proverbs. According to the Bible, the Israelite monarchy gained its highest splendor and wealth during Solomon’s reign of 40 years. Because of his wealth, Solomon was able to surround himself with all the luxuries and the grandeur that a King during that time could enjoy. Included in that “enjoyment” was 700 wives and 300 concubines.
Yet with all his fame, women, and money, Solomon writes… I thought in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless. “Laughter,” I said, “is foolish. And what does pleasure accomplish?” I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly–my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was worthwhile for men to do under heaven during the few days of their lives. 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. In all this my wisdom stayed with me. 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. Ecclesiastes 2:1-11
Solomon said ‘I have tried it all; I have had everything the world has to offer and it is not enough.’ As he ends the book of Ecclesiastes Solomon writes… Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
Solomon’s flawed assumption continues in our society today. The assumption is that if I can have another person to love, another event to plan, another activity to enjoy, another job, another pay raise, another substance, another Superbowl win, another ____________: my needs will be fulfilled. People live out the assumption that if I can only get that ‘one more thing,’ my emptiness will be filled. But no human, no drug, no amount of money, not even 6 Superbowl wins, can fill the emptiness that only God can fill.
Solomon also wrote “God… has also set eternity in the hearts of men.” Ecclesiastes 3:11
God’s narrative when it comes to living life is not as one beer company said, “go for the gusto” because you only have one life to live. Nor is it as one shoe company encourages us to “just do it.” From God’s perspective, life on earth is just the beginning. This life is only the beginning of the eternal life that God has placed in the heart of every individual.
The reason we want more, the reason Robert Kraft and Solomon wanted more, is because our hearts know that there is more to this life than this life. The problem is that when we try to find the more in this life, we look for fulfillment in the temporal, when only the eternal will do. Solomon would say… Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, as chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:14
Two well-known and successful men, Robert Kraft & Solomon, end up with the same conclusion: even when you have everything, it still isn’t enough. We would do well to learn from their mistakes. Don’t try and fill the void in your heart with temporal things, but fill your heart with the eternal. That is how God made it to work!
Steven Curtis Chapman puts this discussion to music: