1 Cor. 7:32 - 1 Cor. 12:30
Today I have to cheat and go back to yesterday’s reading, because there were two amazing nuggets contained within one chapter separated by one verse. We can’t move forward before we make mention of the next set of verses in chapter three of Corinthians.
I want to introduce these verses with a favorite poem…
An old man, going a lone highway, Came at the evening, cold and gray, To a chasm, vast and deep and wide, Through which was flowing a sullen tide. The old man crossed in the twilight dim; The sullen stream had no fears for him; But he turned when safe on the other side And built a bridge to span the tide. “Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near, “You are wasting strength with building here; Your journey will end with the ending day; You never again must pass this way; You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide— Why build you the bridge at the eventide?” The builder lifted his old gray head: “Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said, “There followeth after me today A youth whose feet must pass this way. This chasm that has been naught to me To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be. He, too, must cross in the twilight dim; Good friend, I am building the bridge for him.” In James Dalton Morrison, ed., Masterpieces of Religious Verse (1948), 342.
I ponder this process of building and I am reminded of Paul, who gave himself the title of a wise masterbuilder and said, “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon.” (1 Cor 3:10)
Paul, at eventide, laid the foundation. Before his journey’s end, just like the bridge builder, he left a foundation upon which each of us can continue to build upon if we choose to.
In the book of Corinthians, Paul gives us great counsel for the building process: “But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 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. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.” (1 Cor: 3:11-14)
If we want to be a wise masterbuilder we must consider Paul’s advice.
How we build upon the foundation of Jesus Christ is completely up to us.
Knowing that our works will be tried by fire might help us to better analyze what we will use to build.
Wood, hay and stubble will fail us ––they cannot abide the heat. Instead we must choose gold, silver, and precious stones.
Where do we find these precious materials?
The scriptures teach, “The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth,” (Ps. 12:6 emphasis added) “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire.” (Rev. 3:18 emphasis added) Some ideas that immediately come to mind from these scripture hints are prayer, the scriptures, God’s prophets, and lessons learned from adversity.
Quiet time spent pondering will lead us to discover many more places where these materials can be found.
Ours is the work of building the kingdom. Everyday we build, starting first with our own testimonies, and then reaching out to those who will follow behind us. Think about your own building process for a moment. How is the work coming along?
Sometimes I wonder how different that building process might look if each of us were bringing our finest. When we search the scriptures, when we serve in our calling, when we teach within our homes, do we bring our finest? Our very best? Gold tried in the fire. Silver tried in a furnace. Are the stones that come from the refinement of our experiences the most precious parts of our testimony?
In the New Testament Peter speaks “unto you therefore which believe he is precious.” (Peter 2:7)
Is he speaking to you?
Are you someone who believes Christ is precious?
One of the most important steps of this building process will come about as our testimony of the Savior becomes more precious to us than anything else. If He is precious to us, if our testimony of Him is valuable, it will determine not only how we will build, but also what materials we will choose to build with. It will also help to shield us from the moments of intense heat or pressure that will certainly be part of the journey.
We must learn to trust that, “the foundation of the Lord standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His.” (2 Tim 2:19)
Let Him become precious to you.
Then, bring your finest.