It is in our DNA to build things, make things, whether we are taught to or not. Wherever people are, so are buildings, corrals, tools and other inventions. The tasks of building keep us occupied and challenged. We want a sense of accomplishment for what we build. But, as Children of God, should we build anything specific? Are there rules and specific materials to use? One thing we do know: Jesus came to build something. He enlists us in that project. Matthew 16:18: ‘So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my community.’
St. Paul was also called to build the Church. In 1 Corinthians 3:11-18 he writes, ‘After all, we do share in God’s work; you are God’s farm, God’s building. By the grace of God which was given to me, I laid the foundations like a trained master-builder, and someone else is building on them. Now each one must be careful how he does the building. For nobody can lay down any other foundation than the one which is there already, namely Jesus Christ. On this foundation, different people may build in gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay or straw but each person’s handiwork will be shown for what it is. The Day which dawns in fire will make it clear and the fire itself will test the quality of each person’s work. The one whose work stands up to it will be given his
wages; the one whose work is burnt down will suffer the loss of it,though he himself will be saved; he will be saved as someone might expect to be saved from a fire.’
Jewels and straw are quite different. Straw burns up fast. We only ‘get paid’ if our work survives fire. If the quality of our handiwork is inferior, only WE survive the fire. St. Peter writes that ‘we are living stones in God’s building.’ Like Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego in the book of Daniel survived the fire King Nebuchadnezzar threw them in, we also survive. But who wants to see their work perish in the flames?
All we do is of durable or perishable material. The durable is built on the foundation of Christ. Perishable work isn’t worthy to sit on that foundation? He couldn’t approve of it. It doesn’t adorn his building. Things done for the wrong motive, for show or that we cling to instead of to Him, are incinerated. As we read above, ‘Now each one must be careful how he does the building.’ Methodology, materials, motives and manpower count. If they are not carefully chosen they are at risk of total loss.
So what is the real driver for working with God to enhance His kingdom? I Corinthians 13:3: ‘Though I should give away to the poor all that I possess, and even give up my body to be burned — if I am without love, it will do me no good whatever. If the motive is right (love) we get paid. Our work survives the fire. Jesus said, ‘By this shall all men know that you are my disciples – because you love one another.’
Building His Church is an act of love. God is love so the foundation is love. Only love can add to it. Acts of love endure fire. They are the gold, silver and jewels. How are you building His Church? For you men over 18 with love to give, the Knights of Columbus is built on Charity – Love. Help us build on the foundation. the apostles laid.