December 30, 2004
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
I once heard a story about a 96-year-old man who lost his wife of many, many years. He was saddened one day and confided in his pastor saying, “There’s nothing I want more than to be with my wife again. I miss her so much.”
His pastor responded saying, “I can only imagine the pain you’re going through. But if she has gone on to heaven and you aren’t a Christian, what hope do you have of seeing her and being with her again when you die?”
It didn’t take long after the older man thought about his response for a few moments for him to blurt out in a saddened and confessing demeanor, “You’re exactly right! I am terrified of leaving this life, though. I feel too much sadness to live, but I’m also afraid to die!”
Now, think about Paul’s statement in Philippians 1:21: “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” What a contrast, right? The Apostle Paul was willing to live or to die—as long as he had Christ. He wanted to be with Jesus in heaven, but was also willing to remain on this old earth to continue on in his ministry.
You’re life situation may not be the same as the older man’s. You may not be desperate, but instead life is great and full of happiness for you. But when you think of death, are you truly prepared to face and experience eternity? In Psalm 23:4, the Psalmist says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me.”
By trusting in Christ as your personal Savior, you receive the gift of eternal life that God has to offer. There is to be no fear in death or dying…but victory! With the hope we have in Jesus Christ, we are destined for eternity, never to experience pain, sorrow, or sadness again! Make it your goal to share with others who are lost why you are not afraid to die, and why it is important for them to make the same decision you did at one point to accept Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.
UNTIL WE ARE READY TO DIE,
WE WILL NEVER BE READY TO LIVE.