Anyone who knows me knows that whenever I can, I read. I read a lot. Whether it’s Scripture, blogs, books, or even compelling Tweets from pastors like John Piper, D.A. Carson, Matt Chandler, or Mark Driscoll. Reading stirs my affections for Christ almost as much as writing does, and in many ways it compels me to write. I don’t just read to pass the time or cure boredom, but in attempt to further the captivation my heart feels for the glory of God. And yet, for as much as I read, it is rarely that I stop and consider a single sentence, even in Scripture. I fear this is to my detriment.
Philippians 1:21 ESV
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
I began thinking about this verse last Tuesday when I was out walking. (I know, me exercising is a shock to those who know me.) I recently added Lecrae’s Don’t Waste Your Life to my workout playlist, and every other playlist to which I normally listen. You see, I always got the overall point of this verse, from Paul’s perspective anyway: that his death was preferable because he would be with Jesus, but his life was for the sake of Christ and serving the Church was more necessary and beneficial to them.
But Lecrae hit me really hard when he equated “To live is Christ” with “…your money, your singleness, marriage, talents, your time, they were loaned to you to show the world that Christ is divine…” This isn’t anything new to me, I’ve heard about good stewardship growing up in church, and when I went through Mark Driscoll’s Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe with some of the guys from my church. But this caused me to stop and think about what “To live is Christ” really means.
It means that everything we have is His, loaned to us for the primary purpose of displaying His glory to those around us. Stop and think for a moment, are you living your life — managing your time, talents, treasures, and even trials — in an intentional way so that those looking into your life will see God as glorified. Will they see Jesus as most beautiful? Will they see Christ as supremely valuable? Or will they see us wasting our life on our work, our cars, or our homes? Temporary things that are but a vapor in our lives and rarely have any eternal consequence.
It’s good to see the forest and get the big idea of Scripture. As well as to move in close and see the trees, understanding some of the big ideas within the big idea. But, sometimes, we need to move in closer and examine the branches as well, and let the weight of God’s truth cause us to pause, reflect, and change.