Living Means Fruitful Labor!

Thursday, June 9 2016

Yesterday night as me and my husband read the Bible, we came to Philippians 1:12-16. I quickly scanned the verse before we started and the famous verse of Paul, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” was there. I immediately thought, oh my, please no, please don’t talk about death and now being afraid of death. Not now!

But as we read slowly, I found a great consolation from the verses…

12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.

This verse gave me hope, that what we have to go through now, is actually good for our faith, and perhaps the gospel, at least to ourselves as we draw closer to God and to our children, as we were reminded (especially me) that our time is very short and the ultimate goal is actually to make them know Christ and His love and glory. I’m nowhere near being Paul, but somehow I can relate (God helps me!) that this sickness is not JUST a sickness that corrodes my body, but actually a chance to rich my soul.

18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.

Verse 18 reminded me that I should be joyful. I should rejoice and continue to rejoice. Because Christ is put back in the highness of my life. And in verse 19, God reminds my sometimes unhopeful soul, that His help, His provision, along with the prayers of my prayers, and all the loving souls that pray for me, is ACTUALLY will deliver me. It’s like someone saying in the midst of my doubt, “Hey, God does listen to prayers! You can pray! You have the right to pray! And there is indeed power of deliverance in prayer! 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me.

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
I can only partially relate to this verse. Its very hard – if not impossible – to claim that my life is about Christ. I found that too often I’m just a moody girl (well, I found out that my thyroid played a big role at it, but it shouldn’t be the main cause) who seldom feeling eager to do and to display Christ in my life. I’m just a lost (and lazy) housewife who frequently doesn’t know what to do, and just don’t want to do it (in case I know what to do).

So the thought of death is not really frightening to me. It’s like going to a safe place, going to meet my God and I would be free from these worrisome world that holds so many bad things I can’t digest. Apart of my worries of my children and my husband, going HOME sounds actually as a very good idea.

But the next verse was poking me, (sorry I like Indonesian better) “Tetapi jika aku HARUS hidup di dunia ini, itu berarti bagiku bekerja memberi buah.” I was stunned. I thought of my children, and of how I have lived, and how small and sour are the fruits of my life, and I remember my priest back in Singapore, Rev. Stephen Tong and his eagerness to produce fruit, good fruits for God… and I was taken aback and thought how shallow I was thinking that death is the easy escape… while actually I have to labor, I have to be fruitful! How sad it is for my children, how sad it is for my God, that I am being and feeling enough as a lazy person, just want to go Home because I don’t want to do the work!

23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith,

I thought of Paul and I imagined he was actually in a torture when he wrote this letter. He could have taken the “easy way”, going back Home. To the embrace of the most sweetest and kindest person you can ever imagine. But he was convinced of his thought that he would be more useful if he was alive and helping people to know Christ.

Well, I have asked the same thing to God. I don’t even dare to think about “souls”. I feel very inadequate and small… I can’t imagine how should I suppose to reach any soul… but then I remember my two children. They are so young and Christ is just a glimpse of shadow for them… I haven’t told the enough about Him. I haven’t taught them enough about His love and how He has saved me. I haven’t told them enough about His grace and mercy… in my life, in my parent’s life, in their life..

And with a kind of new braveness I prayed at the end of the evening that if God is willing, I want to be cured, I want to stay here, to labor and bear fruits, to tell and teach my children about Christ… to help them find their joy in the faith…

Somehow this journey is not so scary anymore. Somehow I dare to ask, and I want to stay alive.

I don’t want to go Home, yet. So I will fight. Yes, I will fight.

And I thought, perhaps this man asked God for that… asking God that he might continue his life so he could reach more souls for Christ.

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