In 1965, The Rolling Stones recorded a song that became their first international chart-topper and catapulted them toward super-stardom.  The song was entitled “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction,” a ballad bemoaning the lack of fulfillment found in the typical worldly pursuits of commercialism, materialism, and self-indulgence.  Over the decades, many different factors have been credited for this song resonating so deeply with fans all over the world.  Factors ranging from the band’s fortuitous timing of riding the coattails of “Beatlemania” to the catchy guitar riff intro.  However, Mick Jagger, the band’s famous front man, provided a different explanation in a 1995 interview, saying the song “encapsulated the feeling of the times.”  In December 2004, Rolling Stone magazine referred to it as “the sound of a generation impatient to inherit the earth.”  From this, it would appear that a major reason this song struck such a chord with so many listeners was the relevance of its subject matter.  A message with which the audience could readily identify.  One they could sing along to with absolute sincerity: “I can’t get no satisfaction.”  

While I certainly don’t dispute that the sentiments of this song accurately reflected many people’s feelings and experiences at that time, I’m also certain that such feelings were by no means confined to that particular time or generation.  Nearly 3,000 years before The Stones recorded their #1 hit, wise King Solomon had already (and much more poetically) recorded these very same insights and conclusions in the book of Ecclesiastes.  Possessing fame and wealth beyond what Mick, Keith, and the rest of the band could likely even fathom, Solomon set out on his own journey to find meaning and fulfillment in life.  Throughout the early chapters of Ecclesiastes, we find Solomon testing his heart with mirth and releasing it to indulge in pleasure (see Ecclesiastes 2:1-3).  He sets his gaze on amassing possessions and achievements, establishing a legacy, and surrounding himself with entertainment (see Ecclesiastes 2:4-11).  He indulged in whatever he wanted.  And from all outward appearances, his pursuits seem to have been a great success.  Ecclesiastes 2:9 says that he became great and excelled more than all those who were before him in Jerusalem.  Solomon’s life was filled with things that constitute the very definition of success for many today and, presumably, ensure satisfaction and fulfillment.  And yet, that wasn’t Solomon’s perspective of his accomplishments.  Instead, he proclaims it to be “vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”  Elsewhere in his writings, he described it as madness, foolishness, grasping for the wind, and asks, “what does it accomplish?”  Solomon found it to be a futile and exhausting exercise that leaves the participant empty, unsatisfied, and deeply frustrated.

A lack of satisfaction in all the fleshly trappings this world has to offer is nothing new or novel.  It was true in Solomon’s time.  It was true in 1965, when the Rolling Stones sang about it.  And it’s a truth that is still being realized and proven by many today.  Despite being encouraged to be whatever we want, be with whoever we want, and do whatever we want, there only seems to be a growing spirit of discontentment and dissatisfaction among so many.  And it’s something we are, by no means, immune to ourselves. Thinking that if we could only achieve a certain milestone, obtain a certain prized possession, or get past this one difficult circumstance in our life – then we’d be satisfied.  Only to discover the same harsh reality that Solomon did; that when we get there, we are not.  I know I’ve certainly been guilty of this type of thinking; asking too much of people and possessions that were never intended to fill such voids.  

Fortunately, this is not the type of satisfaction that the Lord offers in His word.  It’s not something that is fragile, fickle, or transient – something that comes and goes.  It’s a satisfaction that is focused on the condition of the inward man rather than his external circumstances and how they make him feel.  True satisfaction is possible, but only in Him who is truly capable of delivering on such a promise of real, lasting fulfillment.  The One who:

  • Was instrumental in making all things (John 1:3).

  • Helped take a void, empty, dark mass (Genesis 1:2) and filled it with the organization, goodness, light and beauty.

  • Sustained and provided for Israel, His chosen people; supplying their daily bread and bringing life-preserving water, in abundance, out of rocks.

  • Pleased the Father that, in Him, all the fullness should dwell (Colossians 1:19).

  • Offered the Samaritan woman at the well, in John 4, living water and the multitudes in John 6 the bread of life; that whoever comes to Him shall never hunger, and he who believes in Him shall never thirst.

What an awesome promise … and an awesome Lord.  It’s why Paul could make the bold statement he does, in Philippians 4:11-13: “for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content … I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  And it’s why Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian brethren, in Ephesians 3:14-21, was not for a change of circumstance or a special physical blessing.  Rather it was that:

  • They would be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man.

  • Christ would dwell in their hearts through faith … being rooted and grounded in love.

  • They may be able to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge.

  • They would be filled with all the fullness of God.

Sounds pretty satisfying, if you ask me!