No, man does not receive salvation through by works. At the same time, God does not expect for us to keep the wonders of His salvation, love, and protection to ourselves. As believers, we are to share His glory with others, and how we go about doing so is determined by the unique gifts God has placed in us. No matter the means we use, however, we must make sure that we are doing quality work for Christ’s kingdom. This brings us to our key text for today coming out of I Corinthians 3:6-15 (KJV). Behold, the word of the Lord reads:
6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. 9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. 10 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. 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 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. 14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
Paul is writing a letter to the church at Corinth. In his address, he explains how the furtherance of God’s kingdom rests on interdependence among the body of believers and the divine touch of God. First, he reminds the church that though they are to spread the word of the Lord, it is only made effective when God gives the increase. In other words, believers can share the word of God all day, but only God to make the unbelieving spirit believe.
Paul then gives an agricultural analogy shedding light on how the works of individual believers function together in spreading the gospel. Because people learn and receive differently, God has given us different gifts and talents through which we can touch the lives of others. For example, God has given pastors the gift of teaching. To others, He has given the gift of music, and the lists of talents goes on. Let’s say you take a friend who does not know Christ to church with you. Although your friend may not have accepted Christ that very day, you and the pastor have planted the seed. Now let’s say this same friend of yours loves music, and comes across a Christian song on the radio. That musician is then watering the seed planted by you and your pastor.
The illustration of carpentry is applied in a very similar way, but with this analogy, Paul also teaches the church that God is not interested in His people doing two-bit work for His kingdom. We should not use efforts equivalent to that of “wood, hay, and stubble” for the kingdom of God. We need to give the Lord the best of and the most of our talents. Furthermore, Paul tells his readers that God will test the work of believers for soundness and that we will be rewarded accordingly.
If you have not already figured out how to use your gifts and talents for the work of the Lord, I challenge you to do so today. When we fail to use the gifts God has given us for building His kingdom, we are hindering the maximum functionality of the body of Christ. When we do use our gifts for the Lord, however, let us make sure that we are using gold quality effort — not stubble quality.
Have a blessed day!
Ayvaunn Penn is an award-winning writer and the author of Ephemeral Moments: a collection of poetry and short stories available soon on Amazon.com. To receive Ayvaunn’s daily devotionals by email, click here. Click to follow her on Facebook and Twitter. To have your original poetry featured on Your Black Poets, click here.