To Be or Not To Be

Therefore we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord; for we walk by faith, not by sight. We are courageous, I say, and are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore also we make it our aim, whether at home or absent, to be well pleasing to him. For we must all be revealed before the judgment seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 2 Corinthians 5:6-10 (WEB)

For many Paul’s whole discussion about which is better: to die and be with Jesus or live and not be with Jesus, is a discussion to be avoided. Death is not a ‘good’ subject.

Unlike the title quote from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, I believe Paul is trying to explain to himself and to us that it is for God to determine our days, their number and their tasks. We are responsible to live our lives remembering that we will be judged for what we did, good or bad.

Life, its brevity and finite time, is to be remembered as we make decisions every day. It is reasonable to think about how I would budget my time each day if I knew it was my last day. Would I look at conflicts in the same way? Would my priorities change?

I believe most of us have areas of our lives that we believe we “have time” to change and “deal with” later. When is later? When will I prioritize my life so that should I receive my call to go home, I would not have regrets.

Another point of this passage that is seldom discussed is judgment. Jesus is my friend. He died for me. He came, God-in-the-flesh to live so that I would know that He understands my life. His love is overwhelmingly extravagant. He will also return as King with the last word in judgment. Every thought, every true turn of my heart toward or away from someone, and every word that encouraged or criticized will be exposed, weighed, and justly determined by Jesus Christ.

I know that I am going to heaven. I have recognized my sin and need for Jesus who is the only One who can save me. I have humbled myself and repented. I desire every day to follow Him. There is no turning back in my life. I am not perfect. There are still words, thoughts, and choices that do not magnify, or represent, my LORD. That is what drives me to my knees and keeps me seeking Him; turning my ears to hear only His Spirit in my life.

So how can I be “confident”? What came before the “therefore”? God promised me a home that will never age and be destroyed. This earthly ‘home’ that is my body is only temporary. It may only last minutes or days or a few year or 100 years but it is going to die. Unless Jesus comes back first, I must die in order to go to heaven. Many, many before me have said that they would live to see Jesus come back. If He does, that is OK with me. I am going to live today like it is my last day whether it is because Jesus came back or because He called me home today. I am ready, confident, and at peace with however God determines my time.

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