“If anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw, each one’s work will become obvious, for the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire; the fire will test the quality of each one’s work.” (1 Corinthians 3:12-13 CSB)
Believers in the Corinthian church were factious. Some were of the “Paul faction,” some of the “Peter faction,” and some of the “Apollos faction.” Then, there were those of the “Christ faction.” Battle lines were drawn according to faction.
The divisions in the Corinthian church greatly distressed Paul, and it was much the background subject of what he had to say to them. He made the point strongly that there was only one Foundation for the church, and that is Jesus Christ. All that has followed since then has been that which is built on the one Foundation. Every individual builds on it, and every church corporately builds on it.
Paul used a very interesting metaphor to help us think about how we build on the Foundation of Christ. Essentially, he points to two types of building materials: 1) those that can be destroyed by fire, and 2) those that cannot. Wood, hay, and straw, which were common building materials in Paul’s day, cannot withstand fire. Gold, silver, and costly stones can survive fire. Part of his point is that “fire” is going to come, so that each man’s work and each woman’s work as well is going to be tested for its durability.
This text is pointing us toward our stewardship as servants of the Lord. The main point Paul is making is that each of us must take careful thought with regard to how we build and what we build on the Foundation. We need to be sure that we build in ways that will endure, in ways that will provide a lasting testimony to the glory of God. Careful thought which focuses on the eternal leads us toward building that yields that kind of testimony.
Lord, Help us to take the time to give the kind of thought to our service to You that will guide us toward building for the eternal, for that will brings the greater glory to You. Amen.