“Let your fountain be blessed,
and rejoice in the wife of your youth.” — Proverbs 5:18
Hugh Hefner died of natural causes at the age of 91. The founder of Playboy magazine was the envy of men the world over. His home—Playboy Mansion—was the location of frequent parties attended by celebrities, politicians, millionaires of all stripes, and of course numerous gorgeous and scantily clad women. As for Hefner himself, he never was to sleep alone, but he had his pick of countless beauties. Even as he aged, his bedtime companions did not.
What a life! Fame, luxury, and all the sexual pleasure a man could ever dream of. What more could a man want?
And that is the tragedy that is Hugh Hefner. His desires, his goals, and his standards were remarkably low. For he never knew the joy of real love. He never felt the pride and delight of children and grandchildren. He never experienced the comfort of a stable relationship with a woman who would love him for who he was instead of what he could give. And he never tasted the sweetness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What a life? Indeed, what a life wasted.
As C. S. Lewis said, “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
Men, when we are looking for someone to emulate—someone who knows what life really is—someone who knows what it means to be a man—the temptation is to lower our standards and admire the Hugh Hefners of the world. But if you want to know what a real man is, let me encourage you to set your standards higher than that.
Look to the man who comes home to his family every day. Look to the man whose idea of fun is playing catch in the yard with his little man or having a tea party with a princess. Look to the man who romances his bride and delights in sex that is more than physical. Look to the man who holds a withered hand and sings an old song to his wife of 62 years, even though she can’t remember his name. Look to men like these, for they are the heroes.
Let Hugh Hefner’s death serve as a sad reminder of a man who wasted his life drinking from a well that could never quench his thirst. And let us resolve that we will neither pursue nor envy those lesser pleasures. Let us be real men. Let us rejoice in the wives of our youth. And let us live lives that matter.
Authored by Mike Miller, the pastor of Central Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Texas.