I CORINTHIAN 3:12-13: “Whether a person builds on this foundation with gold, silver, expensive stones, wood, hay, or straw, the workmanship of each person will become evident, for the day of judgment will show what it is, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s action.” (ISV)
OBSERVATION: Am I making plans for eternity – or am I just living for the present? There is so much emphasis on God’s grace today, that we almost never consider His judgment. Like most people, I like to talk about grace and mercy rather than judgment. Yet, to live without considering the place of judgment in my life is mere foolishness. I must remember, that even though I have been saved from the judgment of sin, there still will be a day of reckoning for how I have lived my life here on earth. And this day of reckoning will impact my eternity!
When I was in my 30’s I did a small stint selling life insurance. The market I was selling was the home market. We had a tool called the “Financial Needs Analyzer” that we would use in helping couples plan for their retirement goals, and also determine how much life insurance they needed to protect their families. The startling realization I made was that over 90% of all the households I called on had done neither. They did not have a savings program, they had not planned for their retirement, and they had little or no life insurance. This woke me up, and at the age of 30 I began to address all three in my life!
Now that I am in my early 60’s (my how time flies!), I realize what dire straits I would be in if I had not made this course adjustment 30 years ago! I would have nothing to look forward to except my Social Security, and the future of it is tenuous at the best. And, if I did not have any life insurance, if I passed away, I would be leaving my family with a burden in their greatest time of sorrow. So, on a practical level, if you can relate to my position 30 years ago – please do something about it, for your family!
Yet, as I ponder on these verses, I am more concerned with my spiritual preparation than that of my earthly retirement. My earthly retirement is to help me with the last 30-40 years of my life. My eternal retirement – well, you guessed it, it will impact my life for all eternity. Now, to be saved is to be saved. And to go to heaven is wonderful. Yet, there are two ways we will enter into eternal life. One will be with great reward, and the other will be as through fire. Either way we will enter into heaven, but I don’t know about you – I don’t want a trail of smoke following me!
What does it mean to enter into heaven – “as through fire”? I think it means that we enter into our eternal life with a limitation. We enter into heaven, fully forgiven and pardoned, but with nothing to show from our stewardship of His grace while we lived this life. More than anything else, as I look forward in my life, I have two desires. The first is that I will finish well. The second is that I will hear those cherished words – “Well done thou good and faithful servant, you have been faithful over little, I will make you faithful over much!” Perhaps in these words we find an insight into this question.
We can enter into our eternal life having squandered much, and being made faithful over little. Or, we can enter into our eternal life having been faithful over little, and being commended by His grace to be faithful over much!
The key is – WHO are we living for now? Are we living for our own personal gain and comfort, or are we living for the Kingdom of God. Are we seeking the Kingdom in every decision we make. Are we considering the quality of the building materials in our life daily, seeking only to use those things which please God and give Him glory? Are we doing some pre-testing on a regular basis, so that the fire of God’s holiness will only purify what we have built, and not burn it? Again, this is not about works righteousness that earns our eternal life. This is about the righteous works we do as we live out our eternal life – in this present life!
The choice and focus we make will last for all eternity!
Lord, help me today to take an honest inventory of my life. Give me a heart to seek first Your Kingdom and Your Righteousness in everything I think and do. I often fall so short of this, so please forgive me, cleanse me, and grant me the grace to build wisely. Guide my steps and my choices so that the materials I reach for each day, as I live out my life, are truly those of the spiritual qualities of gold, silver, and precious stones.
- “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.” (Revelation 3:18-19 NKJV)
In Jesus Name!