April 13, 2017
After the Foundation
Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. – 1 Corinthians 3:12-13
A good foundation is a critical component to building a home, but even if you have the best foundation, you still need more. You cannot live in a foundation. You would not get much shelter from it! Maybe you could throw a piece of plywood over a corner and crawl under it, but you would have to stoop pretty low. That is just not what a foundation is for. It is meant to be built upon!
Once the foundation is in place, there are various types of building materials available for the construction project. As our focus verse mentions, we could choose wood, hay, or stubble, but why would we want to build with those when better things are obtainable? Imagine if someone went to a construction job with a bale of hay and said, “Look, I’m going to build a building. There is good in hay.” Yes, there is good in hay if you want to feed it to sheep! But if you are going to build a house, it is not of much use.
Sadly, many people are content to build their spiritual houses with wood, hay, and stubble. They may have started with a good foundation, but then they wanted to live their lives for themselves. They seek temporal things rather than eternal—straw instead of more durable materials.
Paul talked about building with gold, silver, and precious stones. He knew what he was talking about. Paul’s sufferings went into his building for eternity. Every lash of the whip, the stoning, the shipwrecks—they were gold nuggets and precious stones that will last forever. We, too, can build with gold, silver, and precious stones. Submission, self-denial, and humility are all durable building materials which will strengthen our spiritual buildings and endure forever.
In the end, our work will have to prove itself. It will be “revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” We want to build a spiritual building that will stand the fire and last for eternity.