At the recently concluded 27th SEA Games in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, our nation could be reasonably proud of her achievements. After the Games, Singapore chef de mission, Ms Pennefather gave an evaluation of the nation’s performance at the Games. The verdict: Singapore did a satisfactory good job by winning 34 gold, 29 silver and 45 bronze medals. Each sport was evaluated and classified under three broad categories: Exceeded expectations; Met expectations; Below expectations. Said Pennefather: “I hope that all the national sports associations and athletes take away the lessons learnt, not only from their victories but also from defeats. To review, reassess, how they move forward and to come back stronger and even more competitive …”
Paul in 1 Corinthians chapter 3 verses 10-15 discusses how God’s servant can build the church of Christ. As it is very critical for God’s servants so it is the same for every believer. At the end is the payday. The Lord will evaluate our lives and work while we serve Him here on earth. At the second coming of Christ, the right kind of work will be rewarded and the wrong kind will be destroyed. Let me draw out some of the truths for our own application.
First, this is not how much but how well one builds his building. “Let each one take care how he builds upon it.” God is not impressed with our ‘busyness’ or how much we do for Him. What He is concerned with is the quality of our life and service. Like Martha, we may be anxious with much service but neglect the most needful thing- sitting at the feet of Jesus in worship.
Second, the quality of our service will determine our reward or loss. The gold, silver and precious stones of our building will withstand the test of fire. However the wood, hay and straw will be burnt up completely. Thus we shall be rewarded accordingly. What do the different types of material represent? They represent preaching the cross for salvation and building up believers and living a Christian life according to God’s Word.
Finally, we must be warned of the possibility of losing our reward thus without any works of praise to present to Christ. “If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”
(1 Cor. 3: 15). The loss of reward is not the loss of our salvation for Paul clearly states that that one ‘himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”
I pray that we, as God’s people, will do some evaluation and reassessment of our lives. Let us learn from our past victories as well as our defeats. Let us press on toward the mark of our high calling of God in the years ahead!
Rev. Mark Tay