According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 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, I Corinthians 3:10-15, NKJV.
I saw the aftermath—a controlled burn of a run-down, abandoned house just a few miles away from our home. The land had been purchased by a church, and they offered the house’s demolition to the fire company for training purposes. And what a lesson it turned out to be!
Everything—from the staircase to the front porch, went up in flames. It burned, and smoked, and then collapsed. Everything, except the stone chimney. Though charred on the outside, it still stood firm. Even though the fire had raged against it, it remained tall, straight and strong.
Observing the scene, I thought about fire’s destructiveness. It devastated the structure, furnishings, and materials of that abandoned house. But, the chimney stood. The chimney was now the only reminder of where that house once stood. Its stones were still securely stacked on one another, and its mortar was still intact.
As I looked at that chimney, my own life flooded my thoughts. What part of my life would stand the test of life’s fiery trials? What part of me would still be strong and erect—a testimony of God’s construction-work in my heart? I desired for there to be a solid reminder for others to see when all the furnishings and materials of my life are stripped away. In that moment, the Lord spoke to my heart, “Whatever you have done for the least of these, you’ve done it unto Me,” (Matthew 25:40). It is not the fiery trials and tribulations others will see when our lives are said and done—the fire was long gone when I viewed the scene. The fire was necessary to strip away the rickety structure and the worn-out façade. But the only thing that remained was that steadfast, stone chimney. When all is stripped away, only what we have done for Christ will be significant.
Thought-provoker: Am I building lasting, precious moments in this life that glorify God and honor Him, or am I more concerned about the appearance of my life?
Lord, please build strong stones of faith, character, and good works so my life will be a reminder of Your glory and goodness no matter what trials I will face, for they are the tools that reveal what really matter. Amen.