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“If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.”1 Corinthians 3:12-13
In life, it would be notable if our behaviors resulted in actions that helped others and were long-lasting. If a construction worker assembled a building that he wanted to last for one hundred years, he would use the best building materials possible and the best construction methods imaginable. Anything of quality will reflect pride and professionalism in the worker and should last for many generations to come. It is a good standard that makes sense, one that I imagine everyone would adhere to; however, not everyone lives by this code. Let’s turn to 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 (NIV):
“10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.”
From a Biblical perspective, very sound and steadfast teaching is provided about building something of importance that will be pleasing to God. Gold, silver, and costly stones reflect a long-lasting foundation of sturdiness and importance that will be pleasing and matter to God. However, a foundation constructed with wood, hay, or straw reflects one that is not substantial or steadfast and is of lesser quality. Each of these building supplies reflects something about us, which would be the better materials and what they represent. Let’s explore further.
In this parable, there is a discussion about the quality of the workmanship being revealed by fire. Fire is a metaphorical consideration of a test that something could go through, revealing its strength and quality. Wood, hay, and straw that reflect something built for our glory and recognition will be burned up and not last. Construction materials of gold, silver and costly stones are symbolically related to things of importance to God and bring glory and honor to Him and will not be consumed. What brings glory to God will stand the test of time and have eternal significance.
Reflecting upon the focal verse, I understand the quality of my work will be revealed by the tests that I will someday face. The quality of my work should reflect the presence of the Holy Spirit within me and routinely bring glory and honor to God! I desire the quality of my work to hold up under the refiner’s fire!
Many blessings to you!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
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