1 Cor. 3:10-15
According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
He gained his reputation as a top dealer not necessarily by his knowledge but by his shrewdness. Every deal had to be not only a win but a landslide victory. That reputation would be intact until he met his match. These newly discovered stones were the biggest trend at the time, and he needed to carry the rarest ones. His hunt was laser focused, and he eventually got an exclusive tip that would lead him to an unassuming little merchant. He haggled that merchant down to an unfair price but still made the buy, and he was elated until his team began to polish those stones for setting. One by one their resin paste disintegrated to powder, fake stones unable to endure the pressure needed to reveal the beauty of a real jewel.
There will come a day when everyone’s work is shown for what it is by great spiritual fire. That which is not built on the right foundation and with the right materials will burn to dust and be shown for the nothingness it is. That is a future event, but there is a present event which serves the same purpose. Scripture tells us of the fruit we should see in our daily work now. We can say that God brings us many mini fires which reveal the quality of our work now as we perform it. We might not recognize it as fire but perhaps as light when the Holy Spirit shows us the fruit of our labors. We do not want to wait for that future fire to show whether our labor has been fruitful because it will be too late then. We want to know now whether our foundations and our buildings are what they should be.
Every time God allows or brings a trial or circumstance which shows our work to be either faithful or fruitless, He is exposing it by fire. We do not want to carry empty and dead works with us. We want them to be consumed so that we can see them for what they are and let them go. No one wants to labor in vain, and God certainly does not want that for us. The spiritual fire of God is not only consuming but also revealing. If we want our fruit to be meaningful and productive, then we must invite God to reveal the value of our work now while the day is here. Father, send your fire to expose our labor for what it is, and correct our steps where they have faltered.