Today’s Bible reading is Numbers 32 and 1 Corinthians 3.
In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul compares himself to “a skilled master builder” who had laid a foundation for the spiritual development of Christians in Corinth. But Paul had moved on to preach the good news about Jesus in more places. Now others were building on that foundation. His powerful point in verse 11 is that no one can lay a better foundation than Jesus. The question still hanging in the balance, however, was what would be built in Paul’s absence.
Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. (1 Cor 3:12-13)
What if we took the same principle and applied it to ourselves this week? Christ was exalted as our foundation yesterday, but what will we build on that foundation today? What materials will we use tomorrow?
Work is honorable, but work was never intended by our Creator to serve as the be-all and end-all of our existence. Recreation is healthy. Hobbies are good. Vacations are great. Sports are fun. Our technological tools and toys are amazing. But in the big picture? In light of “the Day” referenced by Paul that will “disclose” real value and lasting worth? These things are comparable to hay, and we all know what happens to a stack of hay when it’s “tested” by fire.
I’m writing this morning from West Virginia. The remnants of Hurricane Florence are blowing outside my window. I’m thankful to be sitting on a solid foundation in a structure much stronger than straw.
We’re all builders, using a variety of materials to construct our time on this earth. There’s a lot of enjoyment to be had from the “straw” of life. But here’s the challenge we must take seriously this week: treat the “hay” like hay and treasure the “gold” as gold. Life was meant to be much more than work, recreation, hobbies, vacations, sports, and digital toys. In the end, that stuff won’t really matter, and it certainly won’t endure. But your soul? That’s gold. Your family? That’s silver. The church? Those are precious stones. The people around you who need Jesus? Their souls have value that cannot be calculated.
Let’s treat the “hay” like hay this week and treasure the “gold” as gold.
Let each one take care how he builds… (1 Cor 3:10)