How Flammable Are We?

As I go through life trying to accomplish things that seem to fulfill the ultimate purpose of my existence here on earth (at least to my thinking), one Sunday’s message reminded me that in the end, all things will be burned up and nothing will be spared. It’s not about things like our houses, cars, clothes, or even our bodies (those are a given!). I’m talking about what I have done in my life, my relationships, my family, my achievements at work, my service in church, my actions, my words, my thoughts, my heart. It makes me wonder which ones will endure the flames. I am terrified at the thought. 

Scripture says we ought to carefully build on the Foundation, which is Jesus Christ, with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, and straw, for in that day the quality of each man’s work will be revealed with fire.

Gold – It all starts with my relationship with God. If it is indeed a personal one, how much time do I spend talking to Him, listening to Him, thinking of and remembering what He has done in my life? That’s what people in a relationship do, I should know. I learned from somewhere that love is really spelled “T-I-M-E”.  When everything burns up, will I have some gold in my name? A sobering thought.

Silver – As in silverware, this metal is used for serving, and it talks about our service to Him. What have I done for Him, for the people around me? Oftentimes I am more consumed with serving my own self in the guise of serving others. God knows my wretched heart.

Precious Stones – How about my relationships with the people I love and care about? The people I work with or the people I meet along the way? What have I done to bring them the knowledge of salvation? Have I even tried? How many are closer to God because of me? What a wake up call this is. I heard from a certain wise man that we are defined not by what we have accomplished, but by the relationships we have.

Wood, Hay, Straw – I remember the story of The 3 Little Pigs where the wolf huffed and puffed and blew away their houses made of these materials. How I used to be terrified by that scene no matter how cute the characters were drawn in the book. I never wanted to be either of the first two pigs. But, alas! It seems most of the things that occupy my time are made of wood, hay and straw; the things I acquire and accumulate, my investments, my clothes, cars, gadgets, my so-called passions… do they even have a tinge of eternal significance? Will they turn out to be flammable endeavors that will quickly turn into ashes when the day of reckoning comes?

“According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” – 1 Corinthians 3:10-15

Our time on earth will be very short. Let’s get our act together, shall we? Whatever it is you do, make sure it’s not made with wood, hay and straw.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to sprinkle with a lot of joy!



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