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.

Many times, Christians can embrace an escapist or even a fortress mentality on this earth while waiting to go to heaven. It may seem easier to withdraw from a sinful fallen world and the messiness of ministering to people. To do so, though, would defeat our purpose for continuing to live.

If your heart is still beating, then God still has a purpose for your life. It is still “more necessary” for someone else that you remain. There is someone or a group of someones with whom God wants you to share the gospel and even invest your life. Do you know who that might be?

Is your chief desire to be with Jesus? Who is it better for that you remain on earth? Pray today for God’s purpose for your life to be revealed.