However, all of this is unfulfilling vanity apart from having a relationship with Jesus Christ. Life is empty without taking into consideration the God-man who lives above the sun. Jesus is truly the “most interesting man in the world;” he is the most rich, most famous, most powerful, most wise, most radiant, and most loving man in the universe. With him, we can find satisfaction and contentment regardless of whatever measure of fame, health, skill, wealth, pleasure, and success he sends our way.
Solomon was the most intelligent, most powerful, most wealthy, and most admired man on the planet. In a real sense, he was the “most interesting man in the world.” Consider the record put forth in 1 Kings:
- Solomon was foreordained by God
- Solomon received prophetic revelation from God
- Solomon was granted wisdom beyond measure
- Solomon married a princess of Egypt
- Solomon married whomever he desired
- Solomon was famous and beloved throughout Israel
- Solomon was famous and courted by the leaders of the surrounding nations
- Solomon had military might on the land; he had 40,000 stalls of horses for his chariots, and 12,000 horsemen
- Solomon built a great navy
- Solomon conquered his enemies
- Solomon had a massive slave force ready to work on his next project
- Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt
- Solomon collected tribute from the surrounding nations
- Solomon built cities
- Solomon built a fantastic palace for himself in Jerusalem
- Solomon built numerous other vacation houses throughout Israel
- Solomon richly constructed and filled the Temple of the Most High
- Solomon amassed huge stockpiles of gold, silver, and precious commodities
- Solomon ate, drank, and pursued hedonistic happiness with vigor
- Solomon was a poet, musician and lecturer; people of all nations came to hear him
- Solomon was a passionate leader of exuberant, expensive, and exciting worship
- Solomon was fantastically interesting to women; he took their breath away, “Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions. She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels bearing spices and very much gold and precious stones. And when she came to Solomon, she told him all that was on her mind. And Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing hidden from the king that he could not explain to her. And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, their clothing, his cupbearers, and his burnt offerings that he offered at the house of the Lord, there was no more breath in her” (1 Kings 10:1-5).
- Solomon … “excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. And the whole earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put into his mind. Every one of them brought his present, articles of silver and gold, garments, myrrh, spices, horses, and mules, so much year by year” (1 Kings 10:23-25).
Now, consider his testimony:
Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises. The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again. All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing (Ecclesiastes 1:2-8).
I said in my heart, “I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me, and my heart has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.” And I applied my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a striving after wind. For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow. I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But behold, this also was vanity. I said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, “What use is it?” I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine—my heart still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life. I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines, the delight of the sons of man. So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:6-2:11).
I, too, want the wealth Bill Gates; I like nice houses, nice cars, nice clothes, and dreamy vacations. I also want the vocational success of Steve Jobs; it would be fantastic to go down in history as the builder of something great. I fantasize about having the athletic ability and physical build of Lebron James; it would be fun to be such a domineering specimen. I also think about having the masculine magnetism of James Bond or Channing Tatum. At least in my dreams on I want to “take the breath away” of my wife. I would also like to be a man of superior intelligence; it would be my pleasure to be the Albert Einstein and Francis Schaeffer of the planet. Then I wish I could write like William Shakespeare, John Grisham, Bill O’Reilly, Jonathan Edwards, or Tim Keller. I would also like to lead worship like Chris Tomlin, preach like R.C. Sproul, and do so in a church like the Westminster Cathedral. And in addition to all this, I would like to be famously beloved like the Pope and walk with the confident swagger of Mr. Putin. Yes, I would like to be like Solomon. I would like to “be like Mike.” (Michael Jordan) And as I grow older, I wish I could mature after the model of Sean Connery or the man in the Dos Equis commercials — the self-proclaimed “most interesting man in the world.”
However, “my friends,” all of this is unfulfilling vanity apart from having a relationship with Jesus Christ. Life is empty without taking into consideration the God-man who lives above the sun. Jesus is truly the “most interesting man in the world;” he is the most rich, most famous, most powerful, most wise, most radiant, and most loving man in the universe. With him, we can find satisfaction and contentment regardless of whatever measure of fame, health, skill, wealth, pleasure, and success he sends our way. When Jesus is our Savior, Lord, and Idol, life is purposeful and worth living. With him, we can be content whether rich or poor, healthy or sick, famous or anonymous, wise and gifted or “ordinary Joe.” Jesus is the “most interesting man in the world” who satisfies all who cling to him.
However, if we choose to deny his supremacy and live for ourselves, nothing will satisfy. Wealth, fame, and hedonism will become tasteless after a while. Despair will set in. Life will end. All the wealth of this world will be taken away, and hell will then begin. Friends, do not believe the lie of Satan. Fruit, apart from God, is sweet in the beginning but utterly destructive in the end. However, fruit, as given by God and eaten with God, it is satisfying now and forever.
Therefore, let us cease striving to be the “most interesting men in the world,” and let us commune with the “most interesting man in the world.” He is the one who satisfies, but only as we abandon ourselves to his never-ending love. Life with him is worth living. Life without him is worthless in the end.
Joseph A. Franks IV is a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and is Pastor of Palmetto Hills Presbyterian Church in Simpsonville, South Carolina. This article first appeared on his blog, and is used with permission.