For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. (Philippians 1:21-24 ESV)
More than anything else, the apostle Paul wanted to be in the presence of Jesus. He saw his eventual death as “gain” and would have gladly and willingly gone on to heaven to see Jesus face to face.
Paul at the same time understood that God still had a purpose for him on this earth. It was “more necessary” for Paul to continue laboring and investing in a group of people (in this case the Philippians). Paul was living in this tension between heaven and earth.