My job on Monday night is to take out the trash which, of course, includes separating it into piles of paper, glass and plastic. When I took out the trash as a young boy trash was trash - everything was useless. We have now learned that recycled trash has value. In the issue of trash, it is critical to discern useful from useless material. The same is true in our spiritual lives.
The apostle Paul talks about useful and useless materials. Some of the materials with which I build my life will last and some of it will not. Some day God will test the quality of the materials I have used, and they will be tested by fire. Paul says,
If any man builds on this foundation [Jesus Christ] using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 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. (I Corinthians 3:12-13)
Separating the spiritual gold, silver and costly stones from the wood, hay and straw is not easy but is vital to the integrity of the holy life I want to build. The gold of intimacy with God, the silver of sacrificial obedience and the costly stones of risk for the King are the useful materials God desires as I build my life on Christ.
Our lives are a construction site. Will you join me this week in carefully sifting through the building materials, choosing precious stones rather than wood, hay and straw?