True to form this morning our pastor gave a wonderful sermon...the only difference is this week was anything but normal for him. Last Monday night his dad passed away, somewhat unexpectedly. Just hours before Paul's death, Tim (our pastor) had spent time with him and gave him what would be his last haircut. They enjoyed their time together, but had he known it was their last visit on this earth, Pastor Tim said he would have looked into his dad's eyes a bit longer and said "I love you" a bit stronger.
Like he said none of us know when our time will come and perhaps scarier yet, when the time will come for the ones we love. So we must make the most of the moments we share. Pastor Tim didn't just this morning to remind us of a truth we all know and too often forget, no he pressed on and allowed God's faithfulness to shine through Him.
Pastor Tim has dealt with death many times and officiated many funerals, but this week the subject became personal in a whole new way. As he dug into the Word for comfort and wisdom; God gave him a message we all need to hear.
He started our time together with Philippians 1:21-24, "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 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! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body."
Now I've read these verses many times before, but today God has really caused me to pause and allow this to sink in. With Paul do I say, "For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." I can say it and type it, but do I believe it always and live with that thought constantly? Honestly, I don't think so. Death is hard and one of those subjects I have a hard time looking at...one, I can think of the rosy side of heaven and tell myself all will be well or two, I focus on what I will leave behind or what I will miss when a loved one passes away and almost find myself getting depressed. But I haven't taken the time or really allowed myself to dig into the topic very deeply and scripturally.
This morning through Pastor Tim's message God has challenged me to do just that because really by understanding death; I have a greater understanding of life! Just like God had a purpose and plan for Paul's life, He has one for mine as well. And this life I live is not my own, by accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I have died and He lives in me. Like Paul told the Philippians that means labor for me, but if I allow God to work through me it will be fruitful labor.
Which brings me to the other passage Pastor Tim shared, 2 Corinthians 5:9-10, "So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad."
It's true, my day will come and before it does I want to say with Paul, "to die is gain!" But I also agree with his other statement, "to live is Christ!" So until then, I pray God will work in me and through me to shine His light and share His love during the moments of joy and in the times of trial. May I live to please Him and always remember what I do in this life matters, now and for eternity.
Friend what are your thoughts this Sunday morning?? I pray they are pleasing to Him and I hope He's spoken to you through mine. May we live for HIM today!!