At the end of his life, the great Apostle Paul saw death as another point of departure, and also as a pushing forward: “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14) Paul’s life on earth was governed by a rich sense of the genuineness and authenticity of the life of the age to come.
Do you live with contentment?
You can see this in his attitude toward possessions. Remember, he wrote to the Philippians to thank them for their gift of money. In chapter 4 he told them, “I’ve learned to be content.” To paraphrase, “You’ve done well in sharing with me, this accrues to your heavenly account and I thank you so much for it, but I have learned to be content.”
Paul’s sense of contentment is so different from the constant striving and wishing to which we are accustomed. “If only I can get to retirement—things will be easier then. If only we could get that particular country club membership, or that house next to the 14th green.”
We aren’t supposed to live that way. God wants to move us from the life of a child who is ruled by his desires to a life in which, by maturity and experience, we learn to give, to share, and to live the life of Jesus Christ.
Life the life of Jesus Christ.
Paul interpreted his life as a life lived out under the pattern of Jesus Christ:
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:5-6)
This is why we live: to live the life of Jesus Christ. We want resurrection, but the resurrections, the fulfillment, the meaning, and the purpose only come after the service, the sacrifice, and the giving.
When life seems to lose its purpose and its meaning, oftentimes it’s not only because of our circumstances, but because we’ve stopped giving. Being truly human means knowing how to give and how to serve. We become the people we’re supposed to be when we live the life of Christ. May we be a people who grow in our knowledge of this truth as we grow older.