Church of God Aberkenfig

Snippet of the Month: Does Long Life Bring Happiness?

NewsSnippetApril14Humans have always chased after the secrets of how to get wealth and long life. For centuries, alchemists sought the ‘philosopher’s stone’ to turn base metals into gold or create the ‘elixir of life’. Is science about to fulfil some of these ambitions?

A scientific publication has reported that a drug exists that may be able to reverse ageing in mice. A chemical called NAD+, occurs naturally in living cells, but as a person gets older, the amount of this chemical reduces and this causes muscle wastage which is a major factor in ageing.

When mice were given a particular drug, it was converted to NAD+, and this led to muscle tissue being regenerated. After one week of treatment, mice aged two developed muscle tissue similar to six-month old mice.

Obviously, muscle wastage is only one aspect of ageing and it is unclear if this treatment would be beneficial to humans. Although people want great wealth and long life, these things do not usually deliver the happiness that people hope for. Poverty can result in misery and poor health can cause sadness. However, the hope that great wealth and long life in themselves bring happiness is rarely fulfilled and those who have these things don’t in general, appear to be any happier that those who don’t.

Happiness, a sense of fulfilment and contentment appear to result from things other than wealth or long life alone. The bible tells us that “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6 v 10)

The bible also says, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,” “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13 v 5).

The alternatives seem to be either being pierced with many griefs or contentment through trusting in a God who will never leave us or forsake us. In the bible, King Solomon was asked by God what he wanted in life. Instead of asking for wealth, or long life, he asked for “a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong”. (1 Kings 3 v 5-14 or 2 Chronicles 1 v 7-12).

Because of Solomon’s attitude and subject to him living a godly life, God gave Solomon not only what he asked for but also the things he didn’t ask for, including wealth and long life.

It seems that God trusts some people to use wealth and long life wisely and for the benefit of all, which brings happiness and contentment. Others simply want these benefits to squander on themselves, with generally negative results. It seems strange, but the things we want like happiness, peace, contentment and fulfilment prove so difficult to get when we chase after them directly. However, when we consider others before ourselves and when we try to live lives that are pleasing to God, the things that make for a great life seem to materialise as a free bonus.

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