John 15:5 – I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (KJV)
1 Corinthians 3:10-15 – According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 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. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (KJV)
Have you ever wondered about the six materials listed above used in building upon the foundation of Christ? Just what is it we do or do not do to make the difference between materials that burn or materials that last? Can we do anything so our works will stand up under fire? I believe the answer is found in the statement of Jesus recorded in John: "Without me ye can do nothing." What does Jesus' statement mean to us?
In 1981, I heard of a mission group successfully smuggling Bibles into Russia. They were raising funds to purchase thousands of Bibles for those believers. A few men willing to risk their own lives carried the word of God to Christians who had never seen a whole Bible, much less owned one. I did not have any extra money to send, so I prayed. I asked the Lord that if it were His will for me to support this effort, He would have to supply ten dollars.
The next day a friend went with me to purchase a couple of night-gowns and a robe. I was to check into the hospital for a test concerning my lymphoma the following morning. When I returned home, there was an envelope pinned to my screen door with a ten-dollar bill and a note, which said, "Take this money and buy a night-gown." Since I had just purchased what I needed, I figured the Lord sent the money for the Bibles. The ten-dollar bill became a precious jewel, because God planned for me to support the Bible fund. He provided the means, and not I. The one who left me the money, and I, who prayed for it, were merely His servants. Many were blessed, while He got the glory.
Later, I found a small dark-brown candy tin with a lid and made a "Bible bank". I asked the Lord to bless my efforts and began to fill it with any loose change found in the washer, on the street, or anywhere lost change can be found. Over the years quite a bit of change moved through that small beat-up can.
I found two dust-covered pennies in the dirt on a sidewalk. One might ask just what two small pennies, which are not worth much in today's economy, have to do with building upon the foundation of Christ? Suppose I took those pennies, adding others to them, and purchased a candy bar I most certainly didn't need. What would I accomplish? Nothing but to add more weight to my overweight body. What would happen, though, if I chose to add them to the change waiting inside the old Bible bank? What if I used these pennies to purchase Bibles? The word of God will get into the hands and hearts of a multitude of people. In the light of this, should I not believe those two pennies would become precious jewels one day? I do believe this is possible, because when God uses anything we give Him, He turns even the small things into big blessings. He loves to do this.
Our God is the God of blessings. He loves to reward his children. He even blesses the wicked with sunshine and rain. His word says a cup of cold water given in His name will receive a reward. He used a lad's small lunch to feed a multitude. Let us realize everything we are and anything we have is very tiny in His sight. Realizing this will make us humble. In addition, if we humble ourselves and seek His will, His power will begin flowing in and through us. Then He will turn those small things we do into something lasting and most precious. Perhaps those small pennies will become jewels in a crown one day.
Jesus is my life.
I must feed on Him;
without His life
- through me
For in fact
I am only
- dust and
what can dust and water do?
- Make mud.
- Amy Woolf Garner ©1997
If we want our building to be made of gold, silver, precious stones, and not wood, hay, stubble or "mud", let's allow Him to work out His will in our lives. Let us remember that He said: "for without Me you can do nothing." What He says, He means!
Prayer: Help us to remember to seek Your will and Your strength daily, and to look for You in the small things we can do for Your glory. Amen.