"For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
Let's break this down for a message of encouragement:
"For to me"
This tells us of personal responsibility like when Paul told Timothy to "Take heed to yourself ..." (1 Timothy 4:16). Joshua saw this personal responsibility when he challenged the people of his day: "And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15).
We are not isolationists, we are to LIVE!. As we live in this world we shine as lights and our shining light gives glory to God. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:16).
Christ is most important in all things. He is our purpose in living. "And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence." (Colossians 1:18).
This is a day we all must face. "And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment," (Hebrews 9:27). We must live knowing we will die and face judgment.
Death is not the end. The faithful can look forward to an eternity with God in Heaven. "But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord." (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17).
Let us live for Christ that we might have the gain after death!