The foundation that has already been laid is Jesus Christ, and no one can lay down any other foundation. But if people build on that foundation, using gold, silver, jewels, wood, grass, or straw, their work will be clearly seen, because the Day of Judgment will make it visible. That Day will appear with fire, and the fire will test everyone’s work to show what sort of work it was. —1 Corinthians 3:11-14 (NCV)
A parable has been told of a carpenter who, on the verge of retirement, was coaxed into building one last home by a wealthy client. The carpenter was pressed by his own thoughts to put his working days behind him, so he made decisions to cut corners on the project. He used inferior materials, and his workmanship was suspect, at best. Clearly, his heart was not in the work. Eventually, the carpenter finished the home. It looked good from the outside, yet the carpenter felt guilty, as he knew the quality of the home was not up to his old standards.
On the day that the wealthy client was to take possession of the home, the carpenter received word from the client, saying, “I’m aware of your reputation as a builder. I know how hard you’ve worked for your clients throughout your career. So, I wanted to reward you at your retirement. I’m giving you the house you’ve just built.” The carpenter was shocked! If he had only known beforehand that this was to be his home, he would have built it with the finest materials and workmanship. But, now it was too late.
This parable reminds me that we all build our lives, much like a carpenter builds a house. Our “home-building” materials are what we build our lives with and include characteristics such as faith, love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and kindness (or their opposites). And our workmanship looks at the “how” we build our lives. Are we living purposefully, pursuing excellence, working with all our hearts, in the name of Jesus and for His glory? Or, has shoddy workmanship been the story of our lives? My own confession: too often I forget that I’m building my own house. How about you?
One day, the house-building project that is our life will be completed. Each of us will stand before the Lord and give an account for our workmanship. Don’t be like the carpenter in the parable. Be prepared. Build intentionally. Build it right. Our motivation ought to be to hear the Savior say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
1. What does the parable remind you of about your own life?
2. Is your life in need of some remodeling? What needs to be fixed?
1 Corinthians 3:10-15; Matthew 25:14-30; Colossians 3:17; Romans 14:12