Even Better

Philippians 1:19
To me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better (v.21).

The text message from my brother was terse: “Dad
just passed away. Come to ward now.” My 84-year old
father had vacillated between life and death for
2 months. He finally took his final breath. Dad had lost
his battle with cancer, and losing him deeply saddened
me. And yet I also rejoiced, for he hadn’t really lost the
battle. He had won it decisively. Twenty-five years earlier,
he had given his life to Jesus and received something
“far better” (Philippians 1:23). And now, Dad had gone
home to live forever with his Lord (1 John 5:11-12).

Paul was in prison in Rome waiting for the outcome of
his appeal to Caesar (Philippians 1:13, 4:22; Acts 25:11).
With the Philippian believers praying for him (Philippians
1:19), Paul believed that he would be released soon and
that he should continue to minister to them (vv.25-26,
2:24). For their sakes, it was necessary for Paul to remain
on this side of heaven (vv.21-22,24). But Paul longed to
be with God, for he knew it would be “far better” (v.23).

For Paul, the crucial issue was not living or dying. It
was keeping up his faithful testimony and witness for
Jesus. Paul’s goals were to “continue to be bold for
Christ,” to “do more fruitful work for Christ,” and to
“bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die” (vv.20,22).
My father sought those same goals. During the last
25 years of his life, he strove to bring honor to Jesus.

He boldly lived for Him, and experienced the joy of his
faith (v.25) even in the midst of painful cancer. That was my dad’s example and
legacy (Romans 5:3-5). He could say with Paul, “For to me, living means living
for Christ, and dying is even better” (Philippians 1:21). —K.T. Sim

Read John 14:1 and Luke 23:43 to see what kind of future Jesus
promised to those who believe in Him.

How will you strive to bring honor to Jesus during your remaining
days? (Philippians 1:20). What “more fruitful work for Christ” will you do? (v.22).

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