A Careful Builder

Anyone who knows me knows that I am the furthest thing from being a handyman. The tools I possess fit into two small drawers . . . and that’s twice the space needed to contain my skills as a builder and fixer of things. My idea of a construction project is putting together IKEA furniture. Most of the “power” stuff we own is because my wife has bought it and uses it. Nope . . . nobody’s gonna mistake me for a master craftsman . . . at least not when it comes to physical stuff. But I’m reminded again this morning that, in the spiritual realm, I possess a “workshop” . . . and have been provided with some “tools” . . . and been graced with some skills . . . so that I might build upon the foundation of my salvation, Jesus Christ. And that mine is to be a careful builder.

According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 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. (1Corinthians 3:10-15 ESV)

Paul says the foundation has been laid and now, “each man must be careful how he builds on it” (NASB). It’s not about “if” I build I on it . . . it is only about “how” I build on it. It’s not like I can say, “Good enough. I’m saved now . . . I’ve got my ‘fire insurance.’ I don’t want anymore Christianity than what I have. I’ll hold right here.” No, Paul says that, as believers, we are building on the foundation and we need to be careful how we’re doing it.

Our handiwork will become clear . . . there will be “the Day” when we stand before Jesus and He’ll examine and test the quality of what we’ve built upon the foundation of our salvation. What kind of materials did we use? . . . . gold, silver, precious stones? . . . or wood, hay, and straw? The fire will test our work. For some, our work will stand up and endure . . . for others, it will be burned up. For some, we will receive reward . . . and for others, they “will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames” (NLT). That is the reality of the Christian life . . . saved by the grace of God . . . placed firmly on the foundation of Jesus Christ . . . asked to build upon that foundation for His glory.

That’s the deal . . .

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10 ESV)

It’s not about earning salvation . . . it is about living out our salvation . . . growing up in Christ . . . showing the reality of the difference God’s grace makes . . . embracing being the temple of God, inhabited by the Spirit (3:16) . . . wanting to build up that temple that He might be exalted.

So . . . while you will never see “the house Pete built” on some piece of land on this earth, I do hope to present to the Lord, on that Day, that which I’ve built upon the foundation of Christ.

I desire to be faithful with the tools He has given me . . . to be a careful builder.

By His grace alone . . . for His glory alone . . .

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