1 Cor. 3:11-15
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.
His early ministry was a joy, both by God’s standards and the world’s. He enjoyed popularity among the citizens of his small town, and the pews were packed twice a week. He had an idyllic view of what it would be like to pastor a church, and he certainly was walking in that reality. As the years passed and culture changed, his teachings became less and less popular. Before he knew it, that pure little paradise he called home began to get a little darker and a little more worldly. He never thought he would see it in his lifetime, but the truth of God had become offensive and labeled as hate speech. The truth he spoke eventually became too much for those people to face, and those pews would remain empty for generations.
Here is the thing about the work we do for God in this world. Many will scoff at us and accuse us of being judgmental and unloving. Others will tell us that we reject the people when we reject their sin, and they find that offensive and hateful. The world might not see the love in God’s teachings but only feel a conviction which is too much for them to bear. Our Godly work might seem doomed, and we might be persecuted and ostracized. None of these things can keep us from fulfilling the work we have been called to complete. If there is one good reason to walk it out faithfully, it is that our work will be shown good, holy and worthy on that day. No matter how the world or the enemy tries to paint our good deeds, God will approve of that work for all to see.
Diamonds cannot be made without years and years of pressure and heat. What initially looks like rough and crude rock turns into a gem of unsurpassed beauty. It is the same with our good works. The process of doing the good work of God in this world can bring us pain and trouble. People might not see the beauty in what we are doing for him, but that should not distract or discourage us. There will come a day when God will redeem these precious gems and reward the faithful. The promise is that everyone’s work will be revealed for what it is, and our aim is for our work to survive the fire. Father, keep us faithful that our good work would honor You and be shown as precious stones on that day.