New American Standard Bible (NASB)
To Live Is Christ21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 [a]But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know [b]which to choose. 23 But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better;
Paul had it right. Why would anyone want to be away from Christ one moment longer than absolutely necessary? There are enjoyments and blessings here, but compared to eternity in Glory...no tears, no pain, no death, no loss, no sickness, no betrayal, no suffering, no strife. All love and worship and joy. No brainer.
I don't think Paul was knocking the blessings of this life, but he knew from rough experience that "to live is Christ" also means to live like Christ...suffering and serving.
Love for the savior through the power of the Holy Spirit is what fills us with the love for Christ we need to serve...and suffer for...His people, His Name, His Glory. Paul would never say his ministry wasn't an honor or a blessing.
But given the choice between blessings mixed with jail, hunger, beatings, arguing, rejection, poverty, abandonment...c'mon...
To be with Christ...THAT IS VERY MUCH BETTER...