It is difficult to capture the essence of a book of the Bible in one word. However, this can be done with the book of Philippians, for the heart of this epistle is “joy”. It is quite intriguing to me that an epistle with the theme of joy, the Apostle Paul took the opportunity to reveal a personal dilemma that he faced.
When Paul thought about his death, the thought did not depress him. Paul really believed that dying and being in the presence of his Savior would be gain (phil. 1:21). On the other hand, Paul had a great desire to remain alive and continue this ministry to the Philippians. Paul’s personal dilemma teaches us that serving Jesus Christ is often dangerous. This is especially true when it comes to missionary activity. The purpose of this entry is to emphasize the dangerous nature of world missions. There is no doubt that their is an increasing danger to missionaries throughout the world. Two major factors that contribute to the increasing danger are the destabilization and instability in many regions that followed the end of the two superpower era . . . and the increasing missions push into areas dominated by other religious systems.
In many instances, the missionary faces the realistic truth that spreading God’s Word to further His kingdom is not safe. In order to accomplish his calling, therefore, it is imperative for a missionary to develop a heart of love fixed on Jesus Christ in faith. Since 9/11, we all live in a more dangerous world. We all must address whether or under what circumstances a ransom will be paid; whether, when and how to evacuate missions personnel; and how to plan missions operations and provide adequate security. May Paul’s personal dilemma concerning life and death motivate us to serve Christ with joy.