Monday, July 3

Be careful how you build

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 3

1 Corinthians 3:10–15 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master-builder I laid a foundation, but someone else builds on it. And each one must be careful how he builds. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than what is being laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw,13 each builder’s work will be plainly seen, for the Day will make it clear, because it will be revealed by fire. And the fire will test what kind of work each has done. 14 If what someone has built survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If someone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss. He himself will be saved, but only as through fire.


Paul likens the church to a building. Christian leaders in particular and all Christians in general (for Paul wrote this letter not just to the leaders in Corinth, but all the church) build the church, for good or bad.

The foundation is Jesus, and can be nothing else. Any other foundation is doomed to fail. Everything is built on Jesus alone.

Each of us build using materials that last or fail, and a day of judgment is coming when our work will be tested by fire. If our work stands the test, we will be rewarded accordingly. If it burns up, we lose that reward even though we are still saved (but smelling like smoke). 

The point: “Each one must be careful how he builds.” (v. 10)


This has me thinking this morning about what I’m doing to build the church, to advance God’s work in helping people find and follow Jesus. Is my work actually making more and better disciples? Am I using “gold, silver, precious stones” (that last) or “wood, hay, straw” (that don’t last)?

I know of disciples I’ve helped who are following Jesus years later, and others who have fallen away or given up or struggled mightily. I used the same materials with both. So I must remember that my investments in others are not the only factor in their long-term success; it’s up to them too. 

Nonetheless, this passage challenges me to check the quality of my own work. Am I laying the solid foundation of Jesus Himself? Then am I building on that foundation with materials that last—solid Christ-centered Biblical teaching, deep relationships of love, leading by being an example others can follow?

Each one must be careful how he builds. 

Prayer: Lord I love You. I find this passage very challenging. When I see those I’ve discipled struggling or failing, I feel responsible to check my work. Did I lay the right foundation? Build with what lasts? Help me Lord! I want my work to stand the test of fire! I want others to know and follow Jesus well. 

More: 1 Chronicles 7-9, Psalm 77, John 3