"If I live, it will be for Christ, and if I die, I will gain even more. I don't know what to choose. I could keep on living and doing something useful. It is a hard choice to make. I want to die and be with Christ, because this would be much better." Philippines 1:21-24I would like to interview Paul. I have some questions I'm dying to ask him:
"Paul, you said 'I want to die'. The only people I know who say that are in intense emotional or physical pain, i.e., suicidal. I can tell from your writings that you are NOT in great distress, rather you sound joyful, so explain to me - "Why do you have a death wish?"
"Is dying and being with Christ REALLY "gain", really "much better"? You seem to believe that with every ounce of your being. What is the "gain"? What is "much better"? Maybe if I understood more about what is waiting for us then I would be more eager to get there. "
You said in another letter you wrote that you had an experience of being caught up into heaven where you saw amazing and wonderful things. I haven't had that experience. I've only experienced the joys of life here on earth, in this body. I'm taking it on faith that it is "much better". In fact, I want to use bad grammar and say "much much much better".
Paul, you wrote "I don't know what to choose." I don't get that - did you have a choice? Unless you were thinking of suicide, what choice did you have? If the Romans are going to kill you, then they are going to kill you, right? OR, was your relationship with Christ so close, that He gave you a choice? Did Jesus say to you "Paul, if you want to come home now I'll arrange it"? What if Jesus said that to me? What if he gave me a glimpse of heaven to sweeten the offer? In that case choosing to "keep on living and doing something useful" is a hard choice.
Okay. Since I'm going to keep on living for the time being (it seems), then I need to do something useful. The only way I can do something truly useful is to live for Christ. Today Father help me to live for Christ and his kingdom. In the mundane things of my job and family life, help me to serve and love like Jesus. Fill me with your Holy Spirit so I will have the servant heart of Jesus, the power and love of Jesus. Someday I'll be in that "much much much better place" but today help me to be useful, to build up others and glorify you. Amen