For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.
Sitting in a Roman jail, not knowing whether he was going to be released or executed, Paul looked at his position as a win-win situation, “If I am alive and remain here, I have more time to live for Christ and if I die, then I will be in His presence.” And though the decision wasn’t really in his hands, he was torn between the two desires. For him, it would be better to leave and be with Jesus, but to remain would be better for those he loved and desired to minister to. That was his joy.
That is how we should live our lives, rejoicing, even in trials, loving the brethren, and desiring to see Jesus face to face. Yet all the while we know our life is hidden in Christ and in His perfect timing, we will one day be with Him in glory (Colossians 3:3-4). That’s how Paul saw it and we should as well. “For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
Pastor Doug Hardin