Through your prayers and the help of the Spirit this will turn out for my deliverance.
Christ will be honored in my body, by life or death.
To live is Christ, to die is gain.
Here is this odd twist. Sacrifice usually means death. Death is usually associated with doom and gloom, not bliss and better.
We think of Martyrs and people who pay the ultimate price for their faith, not people on the fast track to the heavenly banquet.
Paul expresses a different perspective.
Death is the selfish dream for peace, for heaven.
Life is a sacrifice to God by living to share the love of God with others. - For their progress and joy in the faith.
Paul understands that we are eternal beings. Death is not the end, it’s just the transition from this life to the next.
For me, this passage answers one of life’s biggest questions for me. The Why? Why am I here? What is my purpose? Through conversations with people of all ages, kids to nursing home patients, so many of you ask that question too.
“I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith.” I am, you are, here to help the world come to know who Jesus is. As the Church, you are the physical body of Christ for the world to see. When I can stay focused on the why, no matter what comes my way, life has meaning and purpose. When I turn my focus to something else I can quickly get frustrated, disillusioned, or burned out.
So, to live is Christ, to die is gain.
Death will mean walking and talking with Jesus face to face, worshiping God for eternity.
Life then means living sacrificially. Giving my time, talents and gifts so that others can come to know Jesus more. The great things is, when I do that, I find that I grow closer to God. While it’s not face to face, like it will be one day, the more I live for Jesus, the closer I feel to God. Living that way is how I can walk as close to face to face as possible on this side of heaven.
Let me pray for us.
God, thank you for giving us life and breath. Help us both to cherish the life you have blessed us with and to live for you, so that others may come to realize who you are and find in you all that they need for life.
In Jesus name. Amen