Now Playing: How are we building ?
Whether a craftsman, a farmer, or someone in an office, there is a strong urge to reach the completion of a task. The personal satisfaction is keen, and the external payback is usually good. In spiritual matters, we have some clear instruction. The Lord Jesus said to the multitudes, "Which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?" (Luke 14:28) When the leaders sought to kill Jesus (John 6:18), He said to them (vv. 19-47) "the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me..." (v.36). The Apostle Paul could say forcefully to those at Ephesus, "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy..." (Acts 20:24) When he wrote his final epistle to Timothy he said "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." (2 Timothy 4:7)
But what good is finishing what we are working on, if we are not creating something with eternal value? There is a world of difference between "finishing with joy" and "being finished", as a well-known figure encountered this past weekend in Iraq. The Apostle Paul said to the Christians at Corinth, "Let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 3:11). The World Trade Center was tested and built to withstand the impact of a small airplane, but it still wasn't strong enough.
The Lord Jesus could say to Peter, "upon this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it". (Matthew 16:18) When the apostle Peter wrote his first letter (some 30+ years later) to the strangers scattered abroad, he conveyed the truth which had been given to him. We, as believers in Christ, are "living stones" used to build a "spiritual house". A building is only as good as the foundation and its material. We know the foundation is Christ (1 Corinthians 3), and we are "His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them". (Ephesians 2:10)
So we are promised "Behold I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious; and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded." (1 Peter 2:6) Are we building on marshland or bedrock, and is our material "wood, hay, and stubble" or "gold, silver, and precious stones" (1 Corinthians 3:12) Paul reminds the Ephesian believers "Ye are...of the household of God, and are being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone, in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord". (Ephesians 2:19-21)
Shortly after the time of Noah, the "whole earth was of one language...and they said, go to, let us make us a city, and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name..." (Genesis 11:1-5) But Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived, could say "the Name of the LORD is a strong tower, the righteous runneth into it and is safe".(Proverbs 18:10) The man after God's own heart, the psalmist David could say, "The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; the God of my rock, in Him will I trust; He is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my Saviour...I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised". (2 Samuel 22:2-4).
Read all of the chapter, it is so breathtakingly beautiful, what a resource we have in seeking to build our lives in a world of shifting sands and useless investments. "If a man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward." (1 Corinthians 3:14) After we "finish", there is something which the Lord "shall give" to "all them also that love His appearing". (2 Timothy 4:7,8) May we be found among them!