Must be posted where visible from the street...

  • Friday, November 4, 2011

  • 1 Corinthians 3:1-23

    The foundation we are building upon, if the work is to be approved, is Christ. And the materials we chose to build our lives upon must be prepared for the testing by fire.

    True story. I could not make this up! Doing a most unusual activity in my office this morning…I was sorting the growing pile and making liberal use of "File 13," when I opened a recently-received periodical to scan for any article of relevance or interest. This bold print that stared me in the face:

    U.K.-based Stramit
    StrawBoard is reportedly
    seeking to establish U.S.
    manufacturing for its wall
    systems made of straw,
    such as wheat and rice.

    I could NOT make that up! It comes from an article titled, Building Blocks of a Different Nature by Bailey Webb. In it Webb writes, "Whether you have a small or a large budget, the key is to have the priorities that were established in the master planning phase guide the decisions made regarding the selection of building materials. Church facilities and buildings need to be looked at in their totality, always keeping in mind the overall master plan developed at the beginning of the planning process. Just as the master plan should reflect the vision of the church and its ministries, the materials selected should align with the mission and priorities established." (Emphasis added)

    I love construction. I love watching a blueprint become a skeleton, then an enclosed shell and finally an inhabitable abode. I love the process. I find great pleasure in studying the use of materials. But when it comes to my OWN projects, I tend to be a "what is the least costly, most affordable, reusable piece of scrap available. That will do, lets use that" kind of handyman. In other words, I was well trained by my father to make use of whatever happens to be available!

    But straw? I have been in "prairie soddies" and even in a straw house plastered over for ascetic appeal, but a straw church? Who would even consider building a church of straw?

    Well, apparently this is not a completely new 21st century concept. As Paul begins his "turn-around" letter to the First Church of Corinth, he actually exhorts them on the careful selection of building materials. Having reminded them that the only acceptable foundation upon which a Church could be erected is Jesus Christ--that is, His finished work on the Cross--he then writes, "Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work." 1 Cor. 3:12-13

    Now, we are all familiar with the fool who built his house on the sand. We would NEVER be so foolish as to do THAT, would we?  But building the Lord's dwelling place out of straw? Declaring His worth with the least costly, most easily accessible resources? Going cheap on God?!

    Three house additions later and a host of upkeep projects, we are very familiar with the yellow construction permit process. The instructions declare, "Must be posted where visible from the street…" And we also know that the work has not been completed until the official inspector has signed off on the workmanship. One of the significant points of focus in the examination process is the quality of construction materials.

    The foundation we are building upon, if the work is to be approved, is Christ. And the materials we chose to build our lives upon must be prepared for the testing by fire.

    I think I'll take a pass on ordering the promotional packet from the U.K.-based Stramit StrawBoard. How about you?

    See you Sunday, Church!

    Pastor Tom


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