Is Heaven the Best Option?

Fifth Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, MI

READ : Philippians 1:19-26

Making important decisions has never been easy for me. I remember the dilemma I felt when I left the pastorate in order to complete a graduate program in New Testament studies. As it was nearing completion, I didn’t know what to do. Should I seek another full-time pastorate? Should I apply for a teaching position at a seminary? Or would another line of work suit me better?

One dilemma I have never faced: Do I want to live or die? And if I did, my answer would seem obvious to me: I want to live the full span of life Jesus has given me.

It is something of a shock, then, to read our passage for today. Sitting in prison and contemplating the future, the Apostle Paul knows he might face death. As he thinks about whether he would choose life or death if given the choice, he actually opts for death! “I desire to depart . . . which is better by far.”

Why? For one simple reason: Death for the Apostle meant going to be with Jesus at the right hand of God. Death is falling asleep in Jesus.


is far preferable to struggling with sin and sinners in a sin-filled world.

Oh, it’s not wrong to love life; after all, Jesus wants us to live it to the full. But let’s never forget that something far better awaits us.

written by Verlyn Verbrugge


Jesus, help me truly realize that I have nothing to fear should I fall asleep in you. Amen.