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'Winging It

    by Stan Smith

Truth and Practice
Date Posted: May 19, 2021
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21).

I have this secret that I haven't told just anyone. The reason that I haven't told just anyone is because it sounds so ... wrong. Now, I don't believe that it's wrong. Still, most of the people I know, even Christians, are likely to chide me for it. "Oh, you shouldn't say that!" Some have said that word for word.

What's my little secret? I have this hope -- a quiet hope, not too big, but just there -- that I will die before I retire. Beyond that, I have this tiny little fantasy, this tenuous wish, that I won't live beyond tonight.

"Oh, that's just horrible!" some will say. "Christians shouldn't talk like that! We should be full of life! We should be joyful! 'Rejoice evermore' Paul said. That's just wrong!" Yeah, that's what I would expect. The more circumspect would say, "Is life so terrible?" And they've all missed the point.

For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. To die is gain. For me, to leave this world with all its pleasures and joys and find myself eternally and sinlessly in the presence of my Savior forevermore is gain. For me, it's not that this life is so terrible. It's not. I actually have a wonderful life. It's that the next so far surpasses this one that I can hardly wait until my Father welcomes me home.

As it turns out, while I know that my view baffles many, I'm the one who is really at a loss. I honestly can't figure out why every Christian -- you know, those who claim to be followers of Christ, who love the Lord -- isn't of the same mind as I am. It seems as if most Christians are desperately clinging to life here. We are ambassadors, God's adopted children in earth suits taking care of God's business during our temporary assignment here in this short life until we can be sent home. Yet so many appear to be more intent on remaining on assignment than going home. I don't get that.

Jesus said, "You will recognize them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:16). James tells us that living faith produces genuine results (James 2:14-26). Or, to put it as others before me have, to find out what someone really believes, look at what they do. If we claim to believe, in the above example, that "present with the Lord" is the best possible thing but act as if leaving this world would be a bad thing, what do we really believe? In this and other areas, does our practice align with our truth?

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Biography Information:
Born and raised in a Christian home, I've been treated to immersion in the Word and squandered it. 'But God ...' I love the phrase. God has been faithful when I was unfaithful. At every turn He has crowded me to Him.

I'm married with four grown children and (currently) four grandchildren. My wife and I live in sunny Phoenix by choice. I hope to encourage people with my words and to share with others what God has shared with me.

For more writings you can see my blog at
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