When I was in college I remember my pastor, mentor and friend telling us that there are only two things on earth that are eternal, Jesus’ words and people. Jesus said that heaven and earth will pass away, but his words would never pass away. Therefore what Jesus said is worth exploring, pondering and applying. Furthermore, God created individuals to live forever. Therefore individuals also are well worth investing in. In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul warned the Corinthians about discord within their church. They had divided over who they were following, some Paul, others Apollos and still others Cephas (Peter). Paul reminded them that there was only one who had died for them, Jesus and he was the only one worthy of following. Throughout church history, we have seen the tendency of the Corinthians play out over and over again, as Christians attach themselves to the teaching of men and women, creating discord between themselves. We have seen religious wars break out as Christians of one group fought Christians from another. There always seems to be some form of justification for that type of behavior, but they have departed from what Paul taught the Corinthians. When we focus on “Jesus words”, we discover a commonality and unity in our relationships with other Christians. When we deviate from what Jesus taught, and begin to follow the teaching and strategies of men, division often results.
Later in that same chapter, Paul talked about those who build upon the foundation of Jesus with gold, silver and precious stones. Those who do will receive their reward, but those who build with wood, hay and stubble will suffer loss, when their individual efforts are destroyed by fire. Paul’s statement here is worth pondering. How do we build with gold, silver and precious stones and not build with wood, hay and stubble? I believe there is a connection between what Paul said later in 1 Corinthians 3 and what he said earlier. Those who build their lives upon what Jesus taught and build others up with that same teaching are building with gold, silver and precious stones. Jesus called this building your house upon the rock. However, when we begin to deviate and begin departing from what Jesus taught and modify it with what men have taught, we are building with wood, hay and stubble. Jesus called this building your house on the sand. The wise man or woman will examine his or her own life to discern with whose words they are impacting others.