Week of October 12, 2008
A Strong Foundation
" . . . fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward." ~ I Corinthians 3:13-14 (NIV)
Indeed, God cares about the purity of our work. He cares about our motives behind our work, and He cares about the outward appearance of our work. He cares about how our work affects others and how we treat people along the way.
Work is a reflection of the heart, and God is watching. He sees when we cut corners, slip in late, steal supplies, cheat customers and gossip.
He also sees when we are on time and honest, when we serve and encourage others with a loving heart and when we build with excellence upon the foundation that Christ laid.
I once had a job marketing a new product to churches. Before I came on board, however, a previous team of experts had laid the foundation of this new product. They researched, wrote training manuals and student workbooks, designed logos and developed branding. They invested a lot of money and time into laying the foundation that our second team built upon. The first team's efforts were tested and refined as we journey forth. That which was solid remained, and that which was not gave way to change in order to produce higher quality.
This is much like how God "works" us through His divine refining. He challenges or tests our hearts to forge us into greater purity, like pure gold and silver. And our behaviors and works are a reflection of where we are in this process.
In I Corinthians 3, Paul attempted to reestablish morality in the church. He identified areas that were weak or erroneous and corrected them. Imagine the messages the Corinthians were sending to the world in their defamed state. Likewise, what would Paul have to say if he could visit our workplaces? Would he consider our behaviors and works moral or immoral? What messages are we sending to our co-workers? Do they see enough of Jesus in us to desire what we have? Are we winning them to Christ? Reaching out to them with His compassion? Or turning them away with dissension and boasting?
Yes, God expects quality. I Corinthians 3:13 tells us that our "work will be shown for what it is." The Lord's truth will be revealed about us and our work. We and our work will be judged, and we will either receive a reward or a loss. In this, we have a choice. What will we choose? What will we receive?
Are we committed to behaving and performing in God's ways or ours? I Corinthians 3:20 says, "The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile." I Corinthians 3:18 tells us to not deceive ourselves. I Corinthians 3:19 says, "He catches the wise in their craftiness."
Are we not to humbly build upon that which Christ laid before us and do His work by His grace? The truth is that without His grace, we can do nothing at all.
Make no mistake about it, the Lord led me to these scriptures in I Corinthians at the outset of my job. I knew He meant business, that the business I was doing was His and that I did it by His grace alone.
If you would like to have more of God's excellence reflected in your work, simply confess and invite the Holy Spirit to search your heart and to bring you into a greater realm of His excellence so that you may receive what He longs to give you: His finest reward.
This message is, as always, timely. I am constantly amazed that His messages come shining through, loud and clear, a true reflection and an absolute revelation that He is, indeed, watching me and keeping me in His own heart.
Today's experience at the coffee shop really demonstrated how my own actions influence others, and thank God, I was able to demonstrate true Christian ideals of humility, and honesty. I felt so overwhelmed at the end of this specific experience, and could only just hold back the tears, and realize that I could, indeed, make right a wrong.