In life we always find ourselves running to the next refuge from the storm. St Paul came up with an interesting point of view along these lines, he said words to the effect that, “Every man’s work shall be made manifest of what sort it is, whether it be gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or stubble.” So you could say, here we all are or whoever you are, and we kind of build this nice little refuge from the storm and so you have this wonderful foundation to build on and that just so happens to be the Rock, Jesus. And so upon that Rock you start to build and then you finally get that building up together and then God tries it to see if any man’s work abide (in Jesus) which he have built thereupon. Abide would mean that you have built not only on Jesus (the Rock) but through Jesus.
Building through Jesus would entail using things like gold because Jesus said, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich.” (Revelation 3:18) Gold here symbolises faith and so using God’s good gold from Jesus would be good to build with and so you build on the Rock and you would have to say that this would be through Jesus because you bought it from Jesus. You bought it through a kind of an exchange process in that you exchanged your doubts for faith and the same would also go for silver because “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” (Psalms 12:6) Silver tried in a furnace seven times would be pure silver and there would be no impurities in this silver so silver would also be good to build with. Another very good thing to build with would be precious stones. Precious stones would be the lively stones that St Peter talked about. Peter said, “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy preisthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5-9) We are also lively stones because we have the precious stone, the corner stone, Jesus, in our hearts so these lively and precious stones are the people that we have won over to Jesus by sharing Jesus’ Words with them along with our good example of love, and all our love sacrifices for the good of mankind can win many souls to Jesus, or in other words, many precious stones for Jesus, and so these too would be very good to build with because you also know that God is going to try this with fire, He will put it to the test because every man’s work shall be tried of what sort it is, whether it be gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or stubble.
So right, we know our works are going to be tried by fire so what about the wood, hay, and stubble? Would it be such a good idea to use wood, hay, or stubble to build with? No, it wouldn’t because you also know that “…our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:29) and wood hay and stubble would surely be burnt up so the last thing you want to do is have the wood, hay, and stubble build in with the gold, silver, and precious stones because when the building is tried by fire it will be in danger of collapse! Should the building collapse which it no-doubt will if you’ve been using wood, hay, and stubble as well as gold, silver, and precious stones, then after all that wood, hay, and stubble is burnt up you will have to start again and so no-wonder a lot of these gatherings and groups all eventually collapse! In God’s eyes it isn’t always the case that there is nothing good about all of these groups and gatherings, often it’s a case of imbalance and mixing in the wrong materials with the right materials and the sad sad thing these days is that most churches are building with all the wrong materials and hardly any right materials and you would have to say that the time is closing in on us all and every man’s work is
going to be tried by fire and if any man’s work abide (in Jesus) which he hath built thereupon then he shall receive a reward and in some ways building with the right materials is a reward in itself because at least you’ll have something left to build with when all of the wood, hay, and stubble is burnt up. But if any man’s work abide not which he have built thereupon then he shall suffer loss so if there is nothing that came from Jesus, or in other words, abided in Jesus that you have built thereupon then you will suffer a complete loss as far as the building goes though all is not absolutely a complete loss because St Paul makes it completely clear when he says, “but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” In other words, you’ll still have the Rock, Jesus, because Jesus can never be burnt up by any fire and God certainly wouldn’t burn up Jesus and so you won’t lose your salvation, you won’t lose your true foundation and at times like this it would be a good idea for all of us to take stock of all of our losses and all of our gains or even of all of our complete losses and to start again, for us all to take a lesson from all of this and to build our next refuge from the storm with true gold, true silver, and true precious stones and NOT with the wood, hay, and stubble.