Mankind has always grappled with the tension between building quickly and cheaply, or solidly at a greater cost. We can buy a pair of shoes for Rs.500/- and they may last a life-time. If we buy a pair for Rs.50 and they might last few months. Students can be faced with a temptation to party during term time and resorting to "cheating" just to pass the exam. They might pass (if they don't get caught), but they won't have learnt much.
There are always temptation to take short-cuts. "Near enough is good enough".
1 Timothy 6:10-12
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
What is it about the lure of easy money? We know it can be used to provide all kinds of material things. But compare the temporary pleasure of acquiring things or spending on pleasure (James 4:3) with the eternal benefit of building a life based on faith, love, endurance etc.
As disciples of Jesus, we must clearly reject the temptation of short-cuts and strive to build well, taking a long-term eternal view. Build great lives, great marriages and families, great friendships, great ministries and great churches.
1. Foundation of the Building
We all know the parable of the wise and foolish builders :
47 I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice.
48 He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.
49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete."
Are we building a makeshift or mansion? We need to build for eternity. We are building for eternity, so we need to build to last. We need to count the cost. Luke 14:28-30 "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.' No point in laying the foundation, and then not completing the work.
2. Quality of the Building Material
1 Corinthians 3:9-17
9 For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.
10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds.
11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw,
13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work.
14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.
15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
16 Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?
17 If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple.
a. Each one should be careful how he builds. (v.10)
b. Picture here of how our God will test our work on Judgement day.
c. Notice the building materials: Either gold/silver/costly stones or wood/hay/straw. What's the difference? Wood is actually not a bad building material surely? And goes gold have any structural strength? The difference is in the cost of the material.
d. How can I know if I am building well (my life, family, ministry etc)… Well, how much is it costing you?
(i) Personal spiritual life
a. delving deeply with God, developing a great relationship with him. Sacrificing the time for excellent personal devotions (this is the gold/silver/costly stones) or superficial/brief/lazy quite times (wood, hay, straw).
a. The costly stones of denying self to give to your spouse,
b. The investment of getting lots of great advice.
c. The gold and silver of listening, supporting, serving etc..
d. The hay-barn of selfishness.
a. Respect of others: giving notice, returning phone calls, doing what you said you would do, keeping commitments.
b. Truly meeting needs… someone needs to talk, you didn't budget the time..
We are building for eternity, so we need to build to last. We should not take short-cuts. We need to lay the right foundation. We need to use the right building materials.