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A King’s Advice to Governor Spitzer

Decades ago Mick Jagger told the world that try as he might, "I can't get no satisfaction." I don't know if Mick ever found it or not. But I know many are still on the hunt, and most are looking in all the wrong places. A dramatic case in point is New York governor Eliot Spitzer. Spitzer was wealthy (reporting $1.9 million in income to the IRS in 2006), married, on his way up the political ladder of success, well-positioned in life by anybody's standards — and apparently not satisfied. You know by now Spitzer has announced he will resign his post as governor of New York this Monday at noon. News stories report that he was a repeat customer of an outfit known as the "Emperor's Club" which provided an "escort" or "call-girl" service. All that is a fancy-pantsy way of saying Spitzer was purchasing services from a high-priced prostitute (known as a "hooker" back in the days when we were not quite so sensitive and delicate as we are now). Federal investigators believe Spitzer spent as much as $80,000 or more for the "services" of the Emperor's Club over an extended period of time. After all that, still not satisfied and still searching.

How could a man in Spitzer's position, with all the advantages he enjoyed, end up making such stupid and self-destructive choices? I don't know, but his story reminds me of another wealthy, prominent, well-positioned man who went on an unbridled search for satisfaction. In Ecclesiastes 1:12-13 Solomon identifies himself and states the decision he made to search for life's meaning: "I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised." The next verse gives a summary of his search, and provides a hint of what is to come as he reports on his experiment in the laboratory of life — "I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind" (vs 14). Carefully analyzed, this rich, powerful, prominent man admits that without God he just can't get any satisfaction! Even while sitting on a king's throne! It's as fruitless as trying to grasp the wind in his hand. Note the little phrase "under the sun." It will show up 29 times in the book, and it is a key to why he couldn't find what he so desperately desired. King Solomon has advice for Governor Spitzer and all the rest of us — life inevitably fails to satisfy when we don't see "above/beyond the sun." Life lived without God may bring some short-term fun and pleasure. We may even achieve noteworthy and helpful things along the way. But in the end, life without God leads to disappointment, dissatisfaction, and disaster. Solomon eventually leads us to the right conclusion (12:13). But on the way, he warns that without God, any of the popular places, practices, and philosophies to which people turn to meet their deepest human longings are bound to disappoint. Solomon's advice is that we have no hope for success in our search for satisfaction if we don't seek God.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ