For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. – 1 Corinthians 3:11-13 NIV
In Matthew 7:24-27, at the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells a parable of two builders. The wise builder builds his house on a rock, and the storms of life are unable to shake it. But the foolish builder built his house on sand and when the storms came, the house collapsed. What is it that made the builders wise or foolish? It was how they responded to Jesus words. The wise man practiced what he was taught. The foolish man did not.
Paul seems to have that parable in mind in this passage, although he is focusing on the house build on the rock. That rock is Christ, the only foundation worth building our house, or life, on. Paul’s bigger concern here is what we use to build the house with. Do I use gold, silver and costly stones? Or do I use wood, hay and straw? The quality of the building materials will be tested with fire when the house is complete. Will what I have built on the foundation of Christ survive, or will it be consumed? Will I be rewarded for building well, or will I barely escape from the flames?
As a believer, how I live this life has important consequences for eternity. Am I investing in the kingdom of God, living my life to honor God and advance the kingdom? Or am I living for self and today? Don’t be a builder who will stand ashamed of his workmanship at the end; entering heaven singed by the flames. Instead, build your house on the foundation of Christ so that at the end you will hear “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into your reward.”