The foundation is the single most important feature which determines the stability of whatever it is being built upon it, whether it be a building or a person’s life. In these scripture verses we learn that the only foundation for a Christian’s life is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the Rock and Cornerstone from which His Church is built.
Pay special attention to the next verse. 1 Corinthians 3:12 (KJV) “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble…” Paul continues with the analogy of a building and take notice of the first three materials used, gold, silver and precious stones. What is significant about these three materials? These materials are all made by God and hidden in the earth! There will never be any more gold, or silver, or precious stones created or made. Man has tried for many years to create gold, silver and precious stones but the closest we have come is costume jewelry. Now look at the next three components wood, hay, and stubble. What do these items have in common? They all can be created by man. Man can grow trees by planting seeds, man can create hay and stubble. These are all manmade items created by planting.
In 1st Corinthians 3:12 Paul is making it abundantly clear when man builds on the foundation of Jesus Christ the materials man uses will either be created by God, or they will be made by man. When man does anything for Jesus Christ wouldn’t it be better to employ what is created by the hands of God rather than using things created by men?
1 Corinthians 3:13 (KJV) 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.
This scripture verse explains that our works will be made manifest, obvious, or readily apparent. There is a coming day when the works we have done for God will be declared. Our works are going to be tried and it will be revealed what type of work it was. Those that are from God: Gold, silver and precious stones will remain, and those created by our inventions: wood, hay, stubble will be consumed in the fire.
I think it also worth noting that these things created by God are far smaller in stature that those created by men. If you were to take the largest diamond in the world and set it beside a giant redwood tree it would pale in comparison. But which is worth more? Certainly the diamond is worth far more from a monetary stand point. Have you ever seen one of these giant standing silos many farmers use? From a distance they look like a mountain but if you set a wheel barrow full of gold beside one of these “cement mountains” which would you take if it were given to you? The works that man creates tend to be the same they are spectacular and large when compared to the works of God. When God creates something it doesn’t have to be large and flashy to be worth far more in comparison to what we can ever do on our own.
1 Corinthians 3:14-15 (KJV) If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
The works that we do will only abide if they are of God. We can be the busiest people as Christians always serving or doing, but we need to look at what we are busy doing and decide is this really a work that God wants me to do, or is something I want to do. Prayer, seeking God’s Word and having some godly people we can seek advice and council from will help us to determine if we are doing His work or ours.