By the age of 30, NFL superstar Tom Brady had three Super Bowl rings, ranking him as one of the best quarterbacks of all time. To date, he now has four, plus a multi-million dollar contract, numerous endorsements, incredibly good looks, a supermodel wife, a franchise built around him, and on weekends—a stadium of 80,000 who worship him and chant his name. However, despite all those accomplishments, there was something rather interesting the Brady chose to reveal at the height of all of it (2005), during an interview with 60 Minutes…
“Why do I have three Super Bowl rings and still think there is something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, ‘Hey man, this is what it is.’ I reached my goal, my dream, my life. Me, I think, ‘God, it’s got to be more than this. I mean this isn’t, this can’t be what it’s all cracked up to be.'”
The book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible is a book of perspective. The narrative of the author, or “the Teacher” as the author identifies himself, reveals the depression that inevitably results from seeking happiness in worldly things. According to GotQuestions.org this book gives Christians a chance to see the world through the eyes of a person (probably King Solomon, son of King David) who, though very wise, is trying to find meaning in temporary, human things. Most every form of worldly pleasure is explored by “the Teacher,” and none of it gives him a sense of meaning.
In the end, “the Teacher” comes to accept that faith in God is the only way to find personal meaning. He decides to accept the fact that life is brief and ultimately worthless without God. He then advises the reader to focus on an eternal God instead of temporary pleasure.
Matt Chandler at The Village Church in Texas, refers to an intriguing passage in Ecclesiastes 3:11 that says that God has put eternity into the heart of man. Therefore, only what is eternal can fill the gap of eternity.
What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
In other words, what we work so hard to achieve in our day to day lives here on Earth will never fill the gap of what God provides in eternity. And here you have a prime example of this with Tom Brady. In Brady’s words, there’s got to be more to this life. All of these things that the world prides itself on as the so-called “secret to happiness”—money, fame, achievement, power—none of it compares to what Jesus offers. Jesus refers to Himself as “the Light of the World.” He fills the dark void with true life, despite what the world calls the attention to.
I love how Chandler goes on to take it a step further when comparing Brady to the rest of us, in a rather non-delicate way…
“Brady is wealthier than you. He is better looking than you. He is living out, in many ways (men in particular), most of your fantasies. They will build a statue of him outside of Gillette Stadium. Little boys right now are watching him play, and they are being fueled up for their run. The next great quarterbacks will talk about watching Tom Brady win Super Bowls. None of that is true about you.”
It’s true. No one is building a statue of you outside of your workplace decades after you retire. You might excel at your job, in your career, in your community—but no one is building a statue of you. Not only that, but there’s not a single little kid right now who’s going to win an award in their lifetime and give you credit for it. No one is watching you do work on a global stage and going, “That’s incredible.” You’re just being faithful where you are. Tom Brady has the American dream at his lap, and here’s what he says…
THIS CAN’T BE IT.
Bingo. Because it’s not it. No matter how much he, or we accomplish in life, none of it will ever fill the gap of eternity. Those things can’t. They are temporary. And when we die, they fade away. We can’t take any of it with us to the next level of life.
All we get is Jesus. Here. Now. And forever.
So why waste any more time searching for meaning in meaningless things? This week, check out the writings of Solomon in Ecclesiastes for a good lesson in this.