Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. (1 Corinthians 3:12-17 ESV)
Building up the church is of utmost significance in terms of God’s economy. It is the temple of the Holy Spirit. As such, your works in its regard carry extra weight and extra scrutiny. Are you building at all is the first question. If so, are you building with gold or hay? Building for your own glory, for recognition by man, is hay. It will be burned up on the fire. That man will have received his reward. Go doesn’t need is to build His church, but graciously invites us that through the work, we might grow in tune with His heart and grow in faith in His hand. God loves His Church!
The temptation to build for recognition instead of for God is always there, perhaps more so for pastor’s and those in more recognizable positions of ministry. History has shown the fall of different denominations to be predominantly a result of pastors who loved the approval of men more than the approval of God. To those that went so far to altar the gospel message there is great warning: anyone who destroys God’s temple (the church) will be destroyed by God. He is zealous for His own.
And yet, there is hope still for the rest of us who build with mixed motives. Our wood and hay may burn up, but the gold will remain, and God will rescue us from the fire.
So let us see the church as God sees her. Let us love her and be zealous for her and invest in the building of her up.