For to me, living means opportunities for Christ, and dying—well, that’s better yet! Philippians 1:21
The ‘death’ of one who is in Christ is merely an inconvenience for the living: he himself has in fact entered into a rest incomparable to the greatest pleasures earth can afford. The believer should in reality look forward to death – that final shutting of the eyes by which we bid farewell to all that is a limitation and shackle, and enter into true and endless freedom.
It is however impossible to so look forward to dying, unless we have found the true meaning of life. The dread of death comes from the nagging realization that we have not truly lived. What wrenches the heart when the prospect of dying looms is the knowledge that when reckoned up, our lives do not really amount to anything, for all men are born with a consciousness that to enter eternity having lived only for the temporal is a tragedy of unknowable proportion.
What then is the meaning of life, or what is a meaningful life? The Apostle tells us that for him, “living means opportunities for Christ” (Philippians 1:21). In essence, to have lived is to have presented our lives to Christ as an offering, and having pledged total allegiance and fidelity, to have lived daily aiming to do only that which he bids. This is what he means by the declaration, “I no longer live, the life I now live is Christ living through me” Galatians 2:20.
When we have lived like that, the spectre of death is no longer fearful, and our only reason for withdrawing from it is the inconvenience it will cause the living. This is victory! This is life! We are fully alive when this life is not lived in the fear of death but as a matter of expediency.
For to me, living means opportunities for Christ, and dying—well, that’s better yet! But if living will give me more opportunities to win people to Christ, then I really don’t know which is better, to live or die! Sometimes I want to live, and at other times I don’t, for I long to go and be with Christ. How much happier for me than being here! But the fact is that I can be of more help to you by staying! Yes, I am still needed down here, and so I feel certain I will be staying on earth a little longer, to help you grow and become happy in your faith; my staying will make you glad and give you reason to glorify Christ Jesus for keeping me safe when I return to visit you again – PHILIPPIANS 1:21-2.
What wrenches the heart when the prospect of dying looms is the knowledge that when reckoned up, our lives do not really amount to anything, for all men are born with a consciousness that to enter eternity having lived only for the temporal is a tragedy of unknowable proportion.