Building for Eternal Rewards
According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
1 Corinthians 3:10-15
Today’s passage contains a sobering message about heavenly rewards and how they are acquired. Paul is comparing kingdom work to the efforts of a master builder. He says Christ is the only foundation on which to build, but each of us is responsible for the materials we use on that foundation. We can build with wood, hay, and stubble or with gold and costly stones. Each man’s work will be tested with fire in the judgment in order to determine the quality of the materials used. Paul then tells us that if our works survive the trial by fire, we will receive a reward (1 Cor. 3:14).
For our works to survive, we must learn to build with nonflammable materials. God deplores shoddy effort. We will be judged not just by our “church work” but also by the way we handled other responsibilities, such as our vocation. This means that we are to go about our daily jobs with the same diligence that we would show when serving the heavenly Father in spiritual matters.
In order to accomplish this, we must avoid practices like criticizing the boss, manipulating circumstances to our own advantage, checking in late, leaving work early, and using company materials for personal projects. This is a test of genuine Christianity.
Ask yourself if you’re being real with the Lord. Remember, He knows the truth of every situation—and He abhors laziness and poor workmanship. Our Father expects us to do our very best, and He has given us His Spirit to sanctify our efforts and provide the quality of work that He desires.