I read a passage like this and what comes to mind is a phrase my dear stepdad loves to use. It's not uncommon for him, during a conversation in which he suddenly becomes aware that he or any of us are stressing about our vain things, to just blurt out "It's all gonna BURN!" And you know...he's funny, but he's right.
The context of the verses above is Paul speaking to the church in Corinth and dealing with divisions and the people's fleshly tendency to desire the present, visible fruit of our labors, when it may not be in God's will for us to reap it quite yet, or that someone else just might do the reaping anyway! The Corinthians were basically wanting to be identified with the most "fruitful church", the most "prominent teacher" and in so doing were falling into jealousy, strife, and missing a valuable point. Paul says "...Neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor."
That said, as a mother, a parallel to parenting jumps out at me. We mothers so desire to see the FRUIT of our labors--the finished building in all it's glory! This desire is a godly one if it causes us to work diligently towards it with confidence. And yet, the task at hand involves a lot of sowing, weeding, protection and nourishment, etc...
Like the Corinthians, there is the same sort of temptation and distraction to gravitate to those activities, places, projects and programs that make us feel and look fruitful now; our deeds, our appearance, all the things that fill our days and keep our children occupied, that are not sinful in and of themselves...but that may end up in the end disintegrating like straw in the testing Day of fire, if we do not keep clearly in mind what we are building, and how God has said we are to do it.
This looks different for each of our families because God has a unique mission for each of us. I know that for me that as I sat drinking my morning cup of coffee and reading the words "Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, straw..." my mind immediately went to the mental checklist I had for this day. I was able to see that I was about to waste my precious efforts building with straw, in my quest to get (and keep) the house exactly how I like it...hoping to avert the frequent kid messes that just might actually be the laying of costly stones in the eternal scope of their lives. Am I striving to please man or be admirable in the world's eyes? Keeping up with the Joneses? Raising my children to fit a certain mold and forgetting they are a one of a kind? Just being plain old selfish or lazy? Gaahhhh... Is my blogging itself going today to be silver and gold, or hay and stubble?
It helps to stop and take a moment to think and just ask the Lord: What, that I am about to set out to do today will withstand the fire? And what, will burn? Lord, show me! Thankyou SO much that our foundation in You, is secure! Please show me as your daughter, as a wife and mother, as a woman, how I am to build. Make me hunger for your Word and listen intently for your voice and make my efforts into the silver, gold and precious stones that will sparkle beautifully in Your great kingdom. ~Amen.
(And now, I am perceiving that I need to sign off and go watch my 7 year old toothless son Elijah as he demonstrates his brute masculinity by whacking himself repeatedly in the bare stomach with a stick. He has been doing this for the past couple minutes saying "Mom, watch how thhhtrong I am when I whack myself with this thtick!" and I am feeling a nudge of conscience and getting the sneaking suspicion that if I delay much longer, this post just might go up in a puff of smoke if I don't! :)