Do you see life and death as both good things? What would it look like for you to live like Paul did in the following verses?
21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
This is one of those passages I have read and heard many talks on but I don’t know if I have ever really stopped to reflect on. I find these pretty powerful words, to live is Christ and to die is gain. I don’t know about you but for me the topic of death doesn’t often envisage thoughts of gaining something but more of loosing. But that is when I look at death from my worldly view, when I think of death from the perspective of eternal life with Christ it really is a gain. Paul goes on to talk about feeling torn between the desire to be with Christ now and the need to remain in the body for the sake of fruitful labour.
This is such a different view than our world has of life and death. The messages we hear daily is live life as you want to and that death is to be avoided at all costs. As Christians however, both life and death should be viewed as a way to glorify our Lord and Saviour. None of us know when our time on earth will finish but what we do know is that when it does we will be with Christ. How beautiful will that day be when we will be face to face with our Saviour? It should be our desire to be with Christ but Jesus’ death and resurrection should also change our perspective on living; our lives should be lived in fruitful labour for the Lord. So how do we live our lives like this? It’s about the focus we put on using each and every opportunity we get in our lives to share the hope we have through Jesus’ death and resurrection for our sins.
There are days in my life where I think it would be great to be at home with Christ but it is on these days that I need to be reminded of this passage that to live is Christ. I am here on this earth to point others to Christ and so I need to use this life I have now to point others to the hope I have in a great eternal home with God.
Head: What strikes you the most when you read this passage?
Heart: How do we live in this tension between wanting to be with Christ and needing to remain on earth in order to share the great message of hope we have so that others might have this same hope?
Hands: How can you use your life today as fruitful labour for the Lord? Who is one person you might be able to share the hope you have in Christ with today?
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, we are so thankful that death doesn’t mean the end for us but actually the beginning of life with you. We are torn daily between our desire to be at home with you and our desire to share salvation with those around us who don’t yet know you. Please help us to live our lives, however long or short, in a way that glorifies you. Help us to live for you in all we say and do. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.
A song to listen to: Mercy Mercy
Emily Andrews- Creek Road Presbyterian Church- South Bank