probably the most famous line of all of shakespeare’s plays is the phrase, “to be or not to be,” from hamlet. it’s hamlet’s famous soliloquy. hamlet is talking to himself. the prince of denmark is saying, “to be or not to be, that is the question.” he’s talking about suicide. he was considering taking his life. he’s saying, i don't know whether i’m going to take my life or go on living in pain. should i live or should i die? to be or not to be?
paul said the exact same thing in philippians 1 for the exact opposite reason of the prince of denmark. in philippians 1, paul says the exact opposite, “i don’t know which is better, to go to heaven or to stay here and serve people in the name of CHRIST. which one’s better?” it’s the same dilemma. it’s a different point.
guess which one had the joy. paul did, because he was using his life to help others.
philippians 1:21-24 (lb), for me, living means opportunity for CHRIST and dying, well, that’s better yet. but if living will give me more opportunities to win people to CHRIST, then i really don’t know which is better, to live or to die. sometimes i want to live and at other times i don’t, for i long to go and be with CHRIST. but the fact is, i can be of more help to you by staying.
how could death possibly be of benefit to paul? because he knew where he was going. he was a friend of GOD. paul says, “either way i win. on earth, my purpose is to live for GOD. when i die, i get to go be with GOD.” he has a purpose for living and he has a purpose for dying. you can’t get a man down who has that. that’s his secret of joy – a purpose for living, a purpose for dying.
do you? do you have a purpose for living? do you have a purpose for dying? if you don’t it’s no wonder you don’t have any joy in your life. you haven’t yielded yourself to GOD’s purpose and you haven’t got to know HIS SON. you’re not ready to live and you’re not ready to die. you’re miserable. paul says, “when i use my life to help others it brings joy in my life. either way i win whether i live or whether i die.”
just a thought from the front porch…