Saturday, October 4, 2014
What Will Burn?
This is not a pretty picture. Here we see a BMW that had been packed up the night before for a family vacation set to begin later that morning. The mass of cinder and melted plastic in the front corner of the picture is a jet ski. Fire defaces and destroys whatever it touches.
The family of four who lived in this house escaped with the clothes on their backs. Standing on the street in front of their house, they helplessly watched as firemen battled smoke and fire billowing from their home. No more than an hour after they'd been awakened from sleep by the alarm on their smoke detector, they watched the roof cave into their second-floor bedrooms.
It was a sick feeling to watch their home go up in flames. In spite of the great relief that no one was hurt, it would still be a sad, sad day to go through such loss.
I'm reminded of a day that is coming when our works may go up in smoke and be burned to a crisp just like the jet ski we see in the corner of the picture above. How would that feel if everything you've ever worked for was destroyed by fire? Sad, very sad.
God's word tells us in 1 Corinthians 3:11-16:
"For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,
each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is.
If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.
If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?"
Notice the sentence that reads, "If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved..." As I said earlier, in spite of the great relief this family felt that no one was hurt, their feelings of loss and desolation was numbing. So it will be in that day, if everything we have worked for -- our beautiful home, our bank accounts, our successful career, our popularity -- all the things we've held dear on this earth -- go up in flames. Even though you make it through safely, I believe there will still be a great feeling of loss.
It doesn't have to be like that. We're still here and we're still breathing. There's still time to make deposits in that heavenly bank account where as Jesus said, "neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal" Matthew 6:20. Fire doesn't destroy that heavenly treasure either -- and we'll have all of eternity to enjoy our reward instead of just a few years here on earth with the more flammable stuff.
I'm sure the family burned out of their home wish that it had been fireproof. Unfortunately, there is not a single tangible item on this earth that is totally fireproof. Those things that are fireproof and come with eternal guarantees are less tangible, but far more important. Things like: praise and prayers to God; giving to those in need and to God's work; faithfulness; serving through ministry, hands-on work, missions; kindness and encouragement to others; soul-winning and spreading the gospel; letting God work through you in your home, your school, your workplace -- these are the types of things that will be stored up for you in heaven and offer dividends throughout eternity.
Jesus said, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" Matthew 6:21.
Note: The home in the picture above is directly beside my daughter Holly's house. We are so thankful it was not a windy day and the flames did not jump to any other houses.