TO CHEW ON: "If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire." 1 Corinthians 3:14,15
The older I get, the more I ponder the meaning of these verses as they relate to my own life. Will my life's work last or will it burn?
Here are some things the Bible calls enduring or lasting:
- Riches and honour whose source is God - Proverbs 8:18.
- Spiritual food that "endures to everlasting life" - John 6:27. The whole chapter of John 6 is Jesus declaring and explaining his role as the Bread of Life that lasts.
- Spiritual works that endure (1 Corinthians 3:14). The works Paul talks about here relate to building the church and Paul uses the metaphor of Jesus as the foundation of this building and each one of us as builders.
- Faith, hope and love - 1 Corinthians 13:13.
- Unseen eternal things - 2 Corinthians 4:18.
- The kingdom of God, which cannot be shaken - Hebrews 12:27-29.
Here are some of the things the Bible names as frail and destructible:
- Our lives - Psalm 49:12; 78:39; 103:14.
- Our righteousnesses—the good things we do to try to earn salvation - Isaiah 64:6.
- Our pleasures - Luke 12:19,20.
- Human knowledge - 1 Corinthians 13:8.
- The glory of man - 1 Peter 1:24.
- Material things—the earth - Psalm 102:25,26.
- Spiritual works that don't pass the fire test (1 Corinthians 3:15). Though these works will burn, Paul makes a special point of saying that the person who built the works will be spared, barely, and with no reward.
These two lists leave a lot of room for self-searching and discernment, as you and I compare how we spend our lives with what will last, and what won't.
PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to discern what is a worthwhile use of my limited time on earth. Help me to bring this perspective to all the activities of my life. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.