Fireproof Your Work

February 14, 2024
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This is sobering.  

“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”.  

1 Corinthians 3:12-13

So, you will stand before our Father and give an account for your life. With you will be all that you have given yourself to build. It will be lit on fire. That which you built that was useless will be burned. Whatever remains is that for which you will be rewarded.  


How do these verses impact you?  

As you imagine yourself standing before your Father and giving an account for your life, how would your building projects fair in His fire?  

These verses are intense. But I think they make sense. In the example of King Jotham that we have observed in 2 Chronicles 27, imagine if the king built whatever he wanted without seeking direction from the LORD. Remember, the LORD is the One who made Jotham king. At the end of his life Jotham stands before Yahweh and gives an account for his life. With him are various building projects that he thought would be good to build. Yahweh simply responds, “Yes, those are ‘nice.’ But none of those are what I created you to build.”  

Fire comes. 

Nothing is left. 


I think the verses can serve a very helpful, therapeutic purpose. First, they can lead us to seriously, soberly ask our Father to show us the building projects He has for each of us. His work is not a “side hustle” or a nice religious exercise in which He hopes we will participate. The building He has is essential to our BEing and eternal in impact. According to the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:10, He has created you to do good works which He prepared in advance for you to do!  

Second, 1 Corinthians 3:12-13 also shows us the confidence and power available to the one who is sure that their building will endure. Can you imagine waking every day and putting your hands to work on projects that the Creator of the Universe assigned you? Projects in which the Holy Spirit of God is energizing you to win. Projects in line with Jesus’s admonition to deny yourself daily and pick up your cross?  

You were created to do our Father’s work.  

He is serious about the work He has called you to do. 

You will never feel the fullness of your created intent apart from building what you were created to build.  

So, what do Kingdom building projects look like? How can a person discern their assignments?  

The context of 1 Corinthians 3, and the entirety of the book, will give us some insight into the kind of building Paul is addressing. Paul founded the church at Corinth on his second missionary journey. On arriving in the city, he met Aquila and Priscilla, fellow tent makers. Their home became his base as he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews about Jesus being the resurrected Messiah.  

As normally happened to Paul, he was kicked out of the synagogue. Those Jews who believed in his message went with him. Then, he started a house church in the home of Titius Justus. Acts 18:8 says, “…and many of the Corinthians when they heard were believing and being baptized.” The church at Corinth began.  

But what was the church? Paul did not show up in Corinth to build a church. He certainly didn’t set out to build a physical building. He showed up in Corinth to reach and build people. As he built people – saved them, baptized them, loved them, trained them – church was formed.  

You can build a church and forget to build people.  

Look at the way in which Paul seeks to build people in 1 Corinthians 3:1-2, “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able…” Paul’s goal is to build men from infants to mature. He is intentionally loving and training them so that they will grow and become strong.  

His building is all about people.  

I regularly get asked to meet with people who are struggling to discern our Father’s will for their lives. In some form they will say, “I am struggling to know what God wants me to do with my life.” I will reply by asking whether they have considered the who. “Instead of asking what God wants you to do, ask our Father who he wants you to build.” 

Does not Jesus, our Teacher and Example of life, model for us the value and importance of people? Does He not show on every page of the Gospels His work to reach and restore individuals? And then, at the end of His life, He sends His disciples to continue His work. What work? To build people.  

As your faith journey continues your career can take many turns. However, one thing that should be consistently growing is your love for, and valuing of, people. So that you can move from being an engineer at company A to an engineer at company B all the while growing in your building assignments to reach and restore people in that company. You are an engineer in disguise! You are Superman on a mission from God “masquerading” as Clark Kent, a reporter at the Daily Planet.  

So what do you do with 1 Corinthians 3:12-13? First, confess. To the degree that your life has not been dedicated to building our Father’s assignments, confess. This is not condemnation. This is accountability. Our Father already knows and, thankfully, He is full of mercy and grace. Lay this at His feet. Second, ask for the who. Press in. Ask Him to show who the people are in your life that He wants you to love and train. To the degree that you feel unprepared for the work, get the training you need. I am certainly happy to help. But there are many Kingdom trainings. Ask your pastor to train you. Ask him for resources that will equip you to succeed in building others.  

And get to work.  

Walking in the power and confidence of your BUILDing assignments is one of the great joys of LIFE in the Overflow. You have the opportunity live in the strength of the Holy Spirit in Jesus’s name!  


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