The Final Good For Us
MANY OF US equate the good life with the provision of the prime necessities and the other amenities. We tend to believed that food, shelter, and clothing coupled with knowledge, wealth, and physical strength can secure for us a happy, peaceful, and prosperous life; that these can solve our problems and give meaning to our existence.
Our experience belies such thinking. It instead proves that earthly knowledge, wealth, and physical strength are unreliable and insufficient in securing life, much less in solving its problems.
The learned King Solomon said:
“For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.” (Eccl. 1:18, New International Version)
And neither could riches and strength be relied upon securing life and in solving its problems. The rich and the strong have as much troubles and worries as do the ordinary individuals. Again, King Solomon rightly observed:
“A working man may or may not have enough to eat, but at least he can get a good night’s sleep. A rich man, however, has so much that he stays awake worrying.” (Ecc. 5:12, Today’s English Version)
This is not to impugn, however, the fact that there are people who luckily enjoy the luxury of health, wealth, wisdom, and knowledge. But them, the complete meaning and significance of life lies not in the possession of these things. God has this to say to those who cling and give so much value to their earthly advantages:
“Wise men should not boast of their wisdom, nor strong men of their strength, nor rich men of their wealth.” (Jer. 9:23, Ibid.)
God reminds us that we should not think too highly of our wisdom, strength and riches. These are not the foundation of our life and, therefore, they are not the final good for us.
What we should understand
However well-planned and well-intentioned our courses of action in pursuing our aspirations are, more often than not, we fall short of the expected outcomes. And granting that we have achieved our present desires, there still is no telling when our craving for more will finally end. Yet, we can only achieve and do so much. In fact, by ourselves alone, we cannot be certain of what is good for us in this life. This was underscored in Ecclesiastes 6:12, which says:
“For who knows what is good for a man in life, during the few and meaningless days he passes through like a shadow? Who can tell him what will happen under the sun and after he is gone?” (NIV)
Indeed, there are limitations as to what we may know and do in life. Besides our being mortal (Job 4:17-21), we also do not know when and how death would come (Eccl. 8:8; 9:12). And the most debilitating reality is whatever earthly possession we may enjoy in life, we will not take anything with us when we die (Ps. 49:16-20).
Our limitations and frailties deny us of a complete control over our own lives. The prophet Jeremiah, recognizing this truth, wrote:
“Lord, I Know that no one is the master of his own destiny; no person has control over his own life.” (Jer. 10:23, TEV)
Does this mean then that we are forever doomed and helpless in our situation? Are we in a tight fix where there is no way out? What ought we to know with regard to our life and that which is good for us? In Isaiah 48:17, God says:
“I am the Lord your God, the one who wants to teach you for your own good and direct you in the way you should go.” (Ibid.)
We should understand that only through God can we find certainty with regard to what is good for us. We cannot just disregard God and live by ourselves for He said:
“I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for.” (Jer. 29:11, Ibid)
We need God’s guidance if we want to attain what is truly good for us. Even if we acquire all the material wealth in this world, if we do not have God in our life, we would only end up in perdition. Our Lord Jesus Christ clearly portrayed this in His parable of the rich fool (Lk. 12:16-21). After having acquired the things which he thought could assure him all the comforts of this life, the rich man in the parable said this to himself:
“Lucky man! You have all the good things you need for many years. Take life easy, eat, drink, and enjoy yourself!” (Lk. 12:19, TEV)
In the midst of his abundance, the rich man forgot God. He thought he already had all “the good things” with the material wealth in his possession, and thus called himself lucky. Yet God said otherwise. He called him a fool. And, indeed, he was, for his wealth would not save his life. Furthermore, he wouldn’t know what would become of his riches after his death. Such is the fate of “those who pile up riches for themselves but are not rich in God’s sight” (Lk. 12:21, Ibid.).
What we should seek first
There is nothing wrong with having all the essential requisites of life augmented by knowledge, wealth, and sound health. However, we should not worry so much about these things as though our entire life depended on them. Our Lord Jesus Christ emphatically taught that “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Lk. 12:15, New King James Version). There is something above all these. And this is that which we should seek before anything else. Our Lord Jesus Christ emphasized this to His disciples:
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ … But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Mt. 6:31, 33, NIV)
We should seed first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Once we find these, we need not have to worry anymore about our needs in this life. God will surely provide us these things, knowing fully that we need them also (Mt. 6:32).
What is God’s righteousness which we should seek first together with His kingdom? This is the Gospel or His words written in the Bible (Rom. 1:16-17). The kingdom He was referring to was given to the flock (Lk. 12:32). The flock, as clarified by Apostle Paul in Acts 20:28, is the Church of Christ:
“Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, to feed the church of Christ which he has purchased with his blood.” (Lamsa Translation)
The members of the Church of Christ, therefore, are the ones who have found this kingdom.
Importance of the Church of Christ
Why did Christ set God’s righteousness and His kingdom to be on top of our priorities? What makes the kingdom or the Church of Christ the most important in life? Apostle Paul’s letter to the Collosians provides us with the answer:
“Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Col. 1:12-14, NIV)
Those who have found the kingdom or who have joined the Church of Christ are rescued from the dominion of darkness and are brought into the kingdom of light. Redeemed by Christ and forgiven of their sins, they qualify as heirs of God’s promises. No amount of wisdom and wealth could provide us all these spiritual blessings.
That which is good for us
What promise did Christ give His Church which is actually the best assurance we can get in this short and problem-filled life? Apostle Matthew recorded Christ’s enduring promise to His Church:
“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.” (Mt. 16:18, Revised Standard Version)
The powers of death shall not prevail over the members of the Church founded by Christ. This does not mean that they will no longer die. Just like other mortal beings, members of the Church of Christ also experience death. But, the psalmist explains how death will not prevail over those who are of God:
“But God will rescue me; he will save me from the power of death.” (Ps. 49:15, TEV)
Even if the people of God die, they will be rescued from the power of death. They will be resurrected (I Thess. 4:16-17) and saved from eternal punishment which is the second death in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14), such death being the payment for man’s sins (Rom. 6:23).
The Church of Christ, therefore, is the only solution to our greatest problem which is death. This is why we should seek first the true Church first because this is where we can attain what is good for us, that is, the salvation of our souls from the second death, the eternal punishment in the lake of fire.
Pamphlet/Pasugo God’s Message/May 2001/Pages 21-22
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