Scripture: 1 Corinthians 3:10-23
Key verses: (10-11) According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ.
Reflection: Motivational speaker and author Jon Gordon speaks on how to build a proper foundation. When builders begin building skyscrapers they do not start by building up. Instead they start by digging below the ground in order to create a foundation of stability. They have to go down deep and excavate soil, sand, clay, all the loose stone and rock to reach the bedrock so they can build something that is sturdy and reach incredible heights.
Our lives, careers and teams work the same way. If we want to build up, we have to first dig deep and develop our foundation. However, it is not always easy to unearth the stuff below (the fears we have, the wounds we carry and the things that hold us back) but once we uncover them, we can reach the core of our foundation and begin the building process to reach greater heights.
Paul develops the metaphor of a building and calls the church a building. More specifically, Paul says the church is God’s temple, the place of God’s presence. It is not just that where God’s people live, work, and fellowship had become holy ground — though that is true — but that the shared life in community is indwelt by God. And noting our work on this “building project”, Paul makes it clear that there is retribution in not following the building instructions given to the church. The building instructions of holiness are pretty simple: a foundation must be laid prior to building up, and that foundation is Jesus Christ; building material must not be made of “gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw” but made of things that will survive the fire.
Paul closes with a reminder that all we have been given to build up the church is ours; yet, it all belongs to Christ who belongs to God.
The work to dig deep is hard. It can be painful. It can be scary. But I encourage you that in removing the sand, stone, and rocks that create instability in our lives, Christ is there to provide the firm foundation on which we can begin building up again. We do not have to search for the tools or the materials; everything we need is given to us from God in Christ. Also, this is not an individual endeavor. It is not a building project for one. We, as the church, are all part of the crew, all working together and all helping out. I wonder what we are building now, and I wonder what we will continue to build in our life and the life of the church.
Prayer: O Lord, you are our firm foundation. For the work of our hands, we pray that it may last for eternity in your name, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.
Author: Ben Brannan
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].