Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.1 Corinthians 3:12-15
While our Salvation is the free gift of God through foundational faith in Christ, Paul makes it clear that the fruit of our lives will be judged as to the kind of life we built as followers of Christ.
Now, many are uncomfortable with the idea of rewards, but Jesus often spoke of the future rewards for those who follow and even encouraged us to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:20). And he warned that motivation counts as well:
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you”Matthew 6:5,6
Look again at Paul’s list above. At first glance, Paul seems to include six building materials as part of our works, but the reality is that there are only two kinds of materials – Expensive or substandard. It’s the equivalent of a home built from the finest building materials compared to one built of cardboard.
It’s worth taking a look at the lives we are building – not only what we are doing, but our motivation for doing so. Are we going through the motions and completing the checklist or are we fully engaged in the mission of Christ?