Is it really better than the alternative?
Several years back, I asked a gentleman how he was doing? The answer I got did not shock me at the time, nor did I give much thought about it. The gentlemen stated that he “woke up this morning and that is better than the alternative.” Since then, I have heard many people say to me that “any day above ground is a good day,” or “a day above ground beats a day below.” This is very true for the non-Christian, but is it true that being alive as a Christian is better than the alternative? Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating some mass suicide nor living an unhealthy lifestyle. Nor am I advocating not thanking God each and every day for our lives and the for the health that we have been blessed with. But let us not get in the habit of thinking that a day on this sin-filled earth is better than eternity in the perfect dwelling place known as heaven with God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is the same idea that the Apostle Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote to the Christians at Corinth. “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord,” 2 Corinthians 5:1-8. Today, sadly many true Christians fear death, but they should not, rather they should learn from the attitude of Paul. “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better,” Philippians 1:21-23. Paul didn’t fear death, he embraced it, because he knew that there was something better waiting for him. “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. ,” 2 Timothy 4:6-8. I don’t believe that our human, finite minds can really appreciate how better heaven will be than what we currently have here on this earth. We often sing the song “How beautiful heaven must be,” but do we really believe it. Let us all make sure that we are living our earthly lives to the fullest for the Gospel’s sake, but let us not have the mindset that our earthly lives are better than that which awaits the faithful child of God in heaven.