May 27, 2006

To Die Is Gain

2 Corinthians 4:16-5:10

To me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21


Paul said he "would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord." The great missionary loved living in his body, working for Jesus and helping others. But Paul knew that when death destroyed his body, Jesus would be waiting to welcome his soul home. That thought thrilled him.

After Paul died, his spirit would exist without a body ("the earthly tent") until he got a glorified body on resurrection day ("a building from God"). The thought of not having a body for a while didn't appeal to Paul ("we do not wish to be unclothed"). But his misgivings about leaving his body behind were overwhelmed by his eagerness to be at home with his dear Lord.

If you trust and love Jesus, you can't lose. You spend your time in the body gladly living for him on earth. When you leave your body, your spirit will instantly be at home with the Lord in heaven. "To live is Christ and to die is gain."

Does this mean that once you are a Christian, you will like the thought of dying? No, the possible pain of it may frighten you. The thought of existing without a body may trouble you. But despite all that, dying is still gain. The instant you die, your spirit will be with Jesus. Your suffering will be over. You will be enjoying something too magnificent for words.

Lord Jesus, I rejoice in you. Fill my life in this earthly body with fruitful service to you and others. Help me see the great gain in dying and going home to you. In your name, Amen.

About the author — David Feddes

Dr. David Feddes is pastor of Family of Faith Church and provost of Christian Leaders Institute, which supports mentor-based ministry training through online courses. David is also adjunct missiologist for Crossroad Bible Institute, which provides biblical distance education to more than 40,000 people in prison. Previously he served as broadcast minister for the Back to God radio program, reaching people in more than fifty countries. David earned his Ph.D. in intercultural studies from Trinity International University, Deerfield, IL. He and his wife, Wendy, have nine children (one in heaven).

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