“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.” –Philippians 1:23-24
Do you sometimes feel like you are in prison in this life? Maybe you think, “Lord, I just want to go home with You!” Take courage, the apostle Paul felt that way too!
Paul is writing to the church in Philippi, a church he had started. At this time Paul was said to be in Rome and in prison and he references his chains in verse thirteen. What is interesting is that he says his chains were in Christ and that there was ministry being done even in jail. Paul was being used wherever he was sent. His imprisonment was all part of God’s plan for his life. As a result, Paul was taking every opportunity he was given to share the gospel.
As a Christ follower, Paul knew when he died he would be in heaven with Jesus because to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). He knew he would no longer be tired, weary, hungry, chained, beaten or lonely. He knew there would be no more tears in heaven, only praise and worship of our Lord. And yet he realized that he was still here on earth for God’s perfect plan. He knew it was not his time to go yet, even though he would have liked to.
In verse six, Paul says “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.” Are you allowing Jesus to do that with your life today? Are you allowing Him to finish in you what He started? Verse twenty nine says that we do not only believe in Jesus, we also suffer for His sake. In other words, life is not always sweet and peaceful for a Christ follower. Sometimes we go through “sufferings” so others may come to the saving knowledge of Jesus. All of it is part of God’s perfect plan.
My ministry began in the convalescent homes and many of those beautiful people would share with me that they wanted to “go home.” They were tired and did not like their circumstances. I would consistently tell those beautiful people this, “You know how I know God is not finished with you yet? Because you are still here.” That goes for each and every one of us today too!
What about you today? You are still here, He has a plan for you and He will be faithful to complete it in you. There is still work to be done! We have spouses, friends, children and grandchildren that still need us and we must be diligent to pass the baton of faith to them. May our resolve be like Paul’s here when he says, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” May you resolve this year to share Christ with someone each and every day that God allows you to be here on earth! Do that and maybe, just maybe, a revival may spark once again!
“So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'” – Matthew 25:20-21