Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. – 1Cor. 3:13 KJV.
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There is no Church that does not have one issue or the other that will require the intervention of a mediator for its resolution. This is hardly surprising because every Church including Churches in the days of old consists of active human beings, all with zeal and idea on how to do a particular thing and wanting to ensure that their idea is upheld. However, there seemed to be more issues around the Church in Corinth mostly due to the nature of the people there. Bible scholars have noted the wicked and corrupt nature of the people, and the Church in Corinth had its own fair share of them. People with actions that seemed very religious but with not too religious intentions were in the Church and it seemed there was never going to be any meeting point once there is a dis-agreement, due to each one sticking to his/her own selfish position. The dis-agreement got so bad that some of them, at some point questioned the claim of the Apostle Paul, who was the father of Church in Corinth, to being a disciple – 1Cor. 10:1-18.
One of those several disagreements amongst the Corinthians was the reason for the scripture for today’s devotion. They had gone into an argument that was, as usual dividing the Church just after the one that involved arguments as to who was greater between Paul and Apollos – 1Cor. 1:10-17. This time, the unity of the Church was being threatened by an act that the Apostle Paul concluded was jealousy and had led to quarrelling amongst them – 1Cor. 3:3. Describing this as a sign of their worldliness and immaturity, he wondered why they will allow the role played by one person or the other, to be sufficient to cause a division, after all everyone who seemed to have succeeded, did so because God allowed it – 1Cor. 3:5-9. He made them realise that whatever anyone was doing in the Church was not new, as the best anyone could do was to build on a foundation that had already being laid by Jesus Christ – 1Cor. 3:10-11. By this, every act of man remains just a continuation of what was started by Jesus Christ and that makes everyone co-workers. He however raised a caution with regards to the quality of work that each one was doing, as according to him, each person’s contribution can be described as Gold, Silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw. He reveals that everyone’s contribution will be tested in a condition that can be compared to fire – 1Cor. 3:12-13. If the intention of every worker is that he/she be rewarded, then there is the need for all who work to be wary of what kind of work they are doing because, without doubt wood, hay and straw will be destroyed under such test conditions whereas Gold, Silver and costly stones will survive with Gold even coming out better – Job. 23:10. Should the latter be the fate of such works, then such a worker will be rewarded but should the former be the fate of such works, then all that labour would have been in vain with the worker suffering great loss. Such will however, still be compensated with salvation, albeit like one who has escaped flames – 1Cor. 3:13-15.
With this revelation, Paul is advising that;
1. The one who is working should ensure that the work will be comparable in quality to Gold, Silver and precious stones so as to be able to survive the test condition similar to fire.
2. The one that is envious and jealous should concentrate more on doing the kind of work that will survive the test condition similar to fire as such intentions will render such works to be grouped as wood, hay or straw.
This is because it is not about the assessment and praise of men, who judge the physical but about the assessment of the Almighty God who judges intentions – 1Sam. 16:7. So what is the intention behind that work that you are doing? Do you think it is noble enough to withstand the assessment of the Almighty God? Consider less, the applause of men and be sure that you will receive that of the Almighty God, welcoming you into His kingdom – Matt. 25:34. Do not suffer loss on that day, else it will be a very disappointing experience and a situation that will be too late to salvage. It is a day that the first will be the last, as high ratings may have been achieved with men but bad intentions have nullified any expected reward from the Lord – Matt. 20:16. Do not let your negative thoughts destroy your good works. Protect them with positive intentions. May God help you as you do so in Jesus name. Amen.