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What is the Greatest Good?
The famous Greek philosopher Epicurus taught that â€śpleasure is the greatest goodâ€ť. His theory is known as Epicureanism. â€śEat, drink and be merryâ€ť is the motto of the Epicureans.
The wise King Solomon said that everything in this world is meaningless. â€śA person can do nothing better than do eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil.â€ť(Ecclesiastes 2:24)
In a glance, both these theories may look similar. But in detail, the inner meanings of both the theories are miles apart. Theyâ€™re like day and night. The former denies the existence of God, while the latter points towards His existence and our dependence on Him.
King Solomon adds one more sentence to the 24th verse of chapter 2 in the book of Ecclesiastes: â€śThis too, I see, is from the hand of God.â€ť (Ecclesiastes 2:24)
King Solomon wrote this at the end of Ecclesiastes: â€śNow all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.â€ť (Ecclesiastes 12:13)
Some people talk like this, â€śOh, who knows where hell and heaven are? Let us live happily here, now. After all, hell and heaven occur only after death. So now enjoy to the maximum, because now is the only time we can do all these things.â€ť
You can find a lot of people who support this idea, while some donâ€™t. But all of them live for worldly happiness. The Bible refers to these people as those â€śwho live according to the fleshâ€ť.
God might have created leeches and vipers to represent such people, since leeches canâ€™t see anything and vipers canâ€™t hear anything. The spiritual eyes of many people are blind to spiritual truth. Their ears canâ€™t hear. So many people donâ€™t even think about eternity.
An Eternal Perspective
Dear reader, are you in this situation? Did you ever think about where you will be after 100 years? How long will this hurry, this busy life, making money, building a house, planning for the future of your children and a hundred other things last? What will happen afterwards?
The Holy Bible talks about people who tried to get everything in life. Let us think about King Solomon; he was one of the richest men in the world. He enjoyed everything available in this world according to his desire. But like I said in the beginning of the article, he said that â€śeverything is meaninglessâ€ť. That means he couldnâ€™t find the real purpose of his life in any of these things. After all these he still felt hollow in his heart.
Nowadays, a lot of people commit suicide. Statistics show that in the small state of Kerala, almost 20 people end their lives every day. None of them are poor or illiterate, some are highly educated, and some are rich. Some have almost all that the world can offer. But in the deepest part of their heart, they feel hollow.
Moses the Israelite was the crowned prince of Egypt. What did he do with his life? In St. Paulâ€™s letter to the Hebrews, chapter 11, verses 24 and 25 it says that, â€śBy faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaohâ€™s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasure of sin.â€ť Moses considered disgrace for the sake of Christ as greater than the treasures of Egypt.
If it happened today, people might tell him, â€śDear Moses, you are such a fool! You are going to be the next Pharaoh of Israel. Did you leave all the wealth behind to go live with slaves who always go through the pain of poverty, who always suffer the pain of whips? Are you going to live in their huts? Are you going to share the food which they get once in a day? Are you going to wear the cotton dress which only slaves wear? Are you going to sleep with them in a dust-covered bed and pillows? Why? You are such a fool!
Moses replies, â€śThis castle, this crown, this throne and the power all these visible things are temporary. Beyond this I can see eternity. Knowingly I choose disgrace for the sake of Christ.â€ť
St. Paul the apostle said in his letter to the Corinthians, â€śIf you suffer with Him, you will live with Him.â€ť The basic principle of the Bible is that there is no crown without a cross.
Moses chose to suffer with his people. He witnessed their suffering with his own eyes, their sighs reached his ears. He witnessed everythingâ€”their hard work, sweat, sorrow and pain.
Whatever he saw, heard and understood changed his heart.