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 Corinthians 3:12-14 KJV)
At lunch the other day Beloved Husband and I were discussing finances. Doctor and Hospital visits tend to create such talk. He made a comment I’ve heard all my life:
“You can’t take it with you.”
My immediate thought was:
“But you can send it ahead.”
That’s because today’s verse came to mind. Unfortunately, I had not memorized that verse, just had the thought behind it in my mind because I’ve read it over and over in different studies. It’s not a stand alone verse, either. It fits in after:
For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. 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. (1 Corinthians 3:9-11 KJV)
Verse 9 is one I used just yesterday. See how the days flow together when we’re reading the Bible? There are specific thoughts that continue through one book into another. There are references that are foundational, too, and verse 11 is one of those.
Matthew, Mark and Luke quote Jesus referring to this scripture:
The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the LORD'S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. (Psalms 118:22-23 KJV)
Paul is aware of this analogy, too, understanding that Christ is the foundation on which we build our faith. We should be very careful how we build that faith, too, and how we share it with others. If our materials are inferior – wood, hay or stubble – it will cease to exist. If, however, our materials have strength – gold, silver, precious stones – they will withstand fire.
Do not take it to mean that we must have wealth in an earthly sense. Remember Micah’s question:
Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? (Micah 6:6-7 KJV)
And God’s answer:
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8 KJV)
Walking with Him teaches us that wealth is not as important as heart (Luke 21:1-4) and actions just as important as words (James 2:14-18). We need to take inventory – are we on the firmest of foundations; and, what are we building?