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Earthly pleasures – what path do they create for Heaven?

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Tue, Nov 13, 2012

Editor: “All earthly delights are sweeter in expectation than in enjoyment; but all spiritual pleasures more in fruition than in expectation”

– Francois Fenelon

As children, we would have dreamed of certain luxuries when we became older. As we matured, if the circumstances permitted, our dreams came true, a similar fate was granted or we never got an inch close to what we had in mind. Yet, whatever the price, there is always one earthly pleasure we are unable to get enough of – whether clothes, food, material items, academic obsession and the list is endless. Where do these eventually lead us? Do they secure us a place in Heaven above?{{more}}

There are many instances where one may find himself rivalling against the other, not for the benefit of healthy competition, but for the satisfaction of his ego or outdoing his neighbour to prove himself better. As far-fetched as this sounds, it is entirely true. Unfortunately, instead of occurring once and forgotten, a war commences despite the sacrifices made to prove that one has more, until either one goes broke or realizes too late the ignorance of his actions. How do these materialistic gains place one in the forefront of the race to gain eternal salvation?

The poem, Geography Lesson, by Zulfikar Ghose, draws a vivid picture of man’s accomplishments on earth, as a jet ascends higher above ground and comments on his folly at a developed civilisation. As the jet rose, it was clear why the city of departure had developed, yet it appeared disoriented with its infrastructure and organisation. Rising even higher, the importance of valleys, land and water was noted, being the handiworks of God. However, flying about six miles above ground, the shape and topography of the earth became clear, but he could not comprehend the motive behind man’s desire to separate himself from the other by constructing barriers, to kill, deceive and oppose for power over the other.

To allow ourselves the joy of undeservingly brooding in the pleasures of this earth without acknowledging God for his blessings, only brings ourselves disappointment. How does it benefit us to overstep the bounds of greediness and crave? Basically, whatever one uses his money for is solely his business. While this is true, everything we claim as our own belongs to God. Therefore, it is only fair to return what is rightfully His, whether in kind, charity or tithe. Has the thought ever occurred that the reason for facing such hard, economic fatalities stems from man’s inability to pay homage to God for all that he has done, and this is His way of informing us that the time is upon us to make our contribution accordingly?

It is no secret that we are faced with the challenges of financial difficulties, but if we can still make the effort to purchase that eye-catching item dreading us for so long, then we could definitely spare a half of that money for someone in a less fortunate position than ourselves. The act of giving to receive is not evident in this scenario, but our rewards come to fruition in greater ways unimaginable on earth – that is, a place in Heaven, provided these good works continue.

This brings attention to another issue. Kind deeds are never too many, but to take advantage of one’s kindness is absolutely a sin on the receivers’ part. It is an honour to give, once we are able to, but give in moderation and primarily to those in need, rather than to others lesser in need, whether for praise, bribery or any other reason. Consequently, these are the tasks we should find pleasure in accomplishing on earth to secure the many more which await us someday.

Elizabeth Bullock

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