18 What do I think about this? Just this: since Christ is proclaimed in every possible way, whether from dishonest or true motives, I’m glad and I’ll continue to be glad. 19 I’m glad because I know that this will result in my release through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. 20 It is my expectation and hope that I won’t be put to shame in anything. Rather, I hope with daring courage that Christ’s greatness will be seen in my body, now as always, whether I live or die. 21 Because for me, living serves Christ and dying is even better. 22 If I continue to live in this world, I get results from my work. 23 But I don’t know what I prefer. I’m torn between the two because I want to leave this life and be with Christ, which is far better. 24 However, it’s more important for me to stay in this world for your sake. 25 I’m sure of this: I will stay alive and remain with all of you to help your progress and the joy of your faith, 26 and to increase your pride in Christ Jesus through my presence when I visit you again. (Philippians 1:18-26, CEB)
“Because for me, living serves Christ and dying is even better. If I continue to live in this world, I get results from my work. But I don’t know what I prefer. I’m torn between the two because I want to leave this life and be with Christ, which is far better.” Here Paul is talking about how in dying he will be able to be with Christ but being here alive is serving Christ, and he is torn between the two.
Some scholars say that Paul is contemplating suicide here. He would prefer to be with Christ and not here, but to be here he is helping build the church. What do you think about Paul contemplating suicide? Some say that it is a sin and would warrant hell or separation from God for all eternity. But is Judas not with God? No one except God can say that for certain. And to know some folks who have contemplated and committed suicide it is not come by lightly. And honestly, isn’t the fringe benefits of death better than being here? It may seem that way to us in the darkness, but those who love us need us here and love the light our life shines even when we can’t see that.
No matter what Paul is doing here he comes to the conclusion that it is best for him to be here and alive for the Philippians and all who need him. And Paul has done so much for serving the church and creating disciples of Jesus. So his life did so much more by being here and present with those who needed him, rather than choosing to be with Christ.
We all want to be with Christ and that will happen. But Christ needs us here to show love to the world.
So go and love as you have been loved.
Loving People. Loving God.