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. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me. Phil. 1:21-26
There are times in all our lives when we wrestle with the question Paul poses here. Shall we stay, or shall we go? Maybe we are frustrated at work, and we wonder “Is it really worth it to go through all this?” Maybe we have lost a loved one, and we wonder “How can I go on without my companion, my soul-mate?” Maybe we are facing health issues that make us wonder if it is worth it to keep fighting.
The problem with this kind of thinking is that for the most part, it is “me” centered. Is it worth it for me to continue enduring whatever it is that is pressing down on my spirit? Notice what Paul focuses on. He said, as far as I’m concerned, it is better by far to leave this life and go be with Jesus. But it’s not my best interests that should govern this decision—He says “it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.” The determining factor in Paul’s decision was not “what is best for me”. He was looking out for others. As long as his life could be a blessing to others and help bring them to Jesus, he was resolved to stay.
We are beginning a Vacation Bible School with the theme “Miraculous Mission”. There are so many directions we could go in developing that theme, but the one I want to challenge us with right now is finding the mission that God has for our lives—not just long term, but for every day. How can I find a way to bring others closer to Jesus and help them develop a relationship with Him? When we seek to find and embrace that mission, the change in our lives and in our outlook will be miraculous. Resolve now to be a part of this VBS, and a part of this church, and bring others along with you. Every one of us has someone we can influence. Make that your mission—the results will be miraculous.