Dr. David Allen
THE PRICE OF FAME
Judging by the number of men and women who are desperate to enter in TV talent shows, thousands are thirsty for fame and fortune. The lure of the acclaim of the masses, millions, villas, luxury cars and the like never lose their attraction; and conventional wisdom tells us that fame and its luxury accompaniments bring happiness and fulfilment. The tragic cases of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and more latterly, Amy Winehouse tell a different story. At the very least it suggests that fame is difficult to handle. Even as I write, it is reported that Gazza, once a wonderful footballer, is still struggling with alcoholism -another casualty of the bug we call fame.
The ancient book of Ecclesiastes, usually attributed to King Solomon, tells his story and very salutary it is. He tells us: “All that I desired I did not refuse and I had singers, servants, concubines and all the pleasures of men.” However, his conclusion is summed up in one single word: Vanity. “All is vanity and striving after wind, and there was no profit under the sun.” Put bluntly, the things that supposedly bring happiness do not! And, in fact , Solomon tells us why when he observes, “God has put eternity in our hearts”: man has a divine perspective and only a relationship with Him brings true and abiding fulfilment. St Augustine commented on this verse in his Confession – the very first autobiography- by saying, “I was made by and for You and only find peace and rest in You.”
Not everyone admires that saint, but his story is significant and instructive. He had a strong libido and had a mistress for a number of years. He spent, in addition, years studying various schools of philosophy, even to the extent of joining the heretical Manichees. However, his mother, Monica, prayed for him daily and, under the influence of Bishop Ambrose of Milan, he was converted and baptised, having belatedly learned that neither his philandering nor philosophy satisfied. As Billy Graham says, “ In everyone there is a vacuum that only Jesus can fill.”