Yesterday I got to “dogsit” for my daughter for an hour. Her lab, Maggie, and I get along pretty good. My daughter told me she got really excited on her trip to our home about a mile away as they started to turn onto our hill. Whether its the sight or the smells, she seems to always get really enthused about coming over ! Kinda reminds me of something Paul wrote to his Philippian brethren, “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart , and to be with Christ; which is far better: nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.” (1:23-24).
Once we have “crossed over” from this life, we will clearly concur with the apostle that being with the Lord is FAR better too. It will be a no brainer then. But for now, this is all we have experienced and the rest we take by faith. Paul had somewhat of an advantage having met the risen Lord on the Damascus road then after we hear of his being “caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable things” (2 Cor.12:4) as a couple of examples ! Given the chance if Maggie is asked if she wants to go to “Grandpop’s house” she will get really psyched, she won’t lay there depressed or underreact. But if you were physically shown the grandeur of heaven, as was Paul, would you be able to say no if given the choice of do you want to go there and leave this old world with all its troubles or stay here and help others ?
What Paul was saying was incredible when you grasp it here. He was thinking of his friends OVER himself even when it was clearly an obvious advantage to be with the Lord in heaven !! One of the blessings of truly growing in Christ is the “selfish meter” starts to decrease while the selfless one increases. You start to see beyond yourself to the needs of others and more importantly the will of God. Now, you may get excited about going some place in this old world at times and find some joy being there but your greatest joy you’ll find as a growing child of God is being right where God wants, even it means delaying something good for you to serve others.