“I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world…” -John 17:15
Some hermits and others have fancied that if we were to shut ourselves from the world and live alone, we should then be more devoted to God and serve Him better…Why, brethren, common sense tells us at once that living alone is not the way to serve God. It may be the way to serve self, and wrap ourselves in a garment of self-complacency; but it cannot be the way to worship God truly. If it be possible, by this means, to fulfil one part of the great law of God, we cannot possibly carry out the other portion-to love our neighbour as ourselves, for we thus become unable to bind up the broken-hearted, to bring the wanderer back, or to win souls from death and sin. Out of the heart proceedeth all evil, and if we were in retirement we should sin, because we should carry our hearts with us into whatever solitude we entered.
…But it may be understood in a second sense. “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of this world”–by death…But Jesus does not pray that one of His chosen people should be too soon removed, He does not desire to see His newly begotten souls plume their wings and fly aloft to heaven until their time shall come…He leaves it to His Father, until, like shocks of corn fully ripe, we shall each of us be gathered into our Master’s garner… Christ does not pray that we should be taken out of the world, because our abode here is for our own good, for the world’s benefit, and for His glory. ~ C.H. Spurgeon