This Puzzled Me


For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 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. If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet as as through fire. I Corinthians 3:11-15

This passage has intrigued me for years and to be honest, I wasn't sure I grasped what the apostle was saying. I knew that 'the Day' referred to the final judgment before the Lord but what intrigued me was the 'wood, hay, straw, gold, silver, precious stones' part. I asked for understanding and only recently have my questions been answered. I'd like to share these thoughts with you and look forward to your response.


WOOD is primarily used for fuel and for construction. To build my life with material that can be consumed by fire is to build at risk of loss. I don't want to do that in my relationship with Jesus, do you?

HAY is dried out plants and grass, set aside to feed animals. Hay is what we feed on when we cater to our lower animalistic nature, spending more time attending to the needs of the body than those of the soul.

STRAW is the roughest part of the dried out hay. It offers no nutrition nor energy, just roughage. Straw, then, is any false teaching and/or practices that produce nothing but waste. To put it another way, it represents the 'righteousness of the Pharisees' which Jesus condemned. for Straw describes those good works we do to impress others rather than God.

When I stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ, will my life look like a pile of wood, hay and straw? I pray not.

So what about the gold, silver and precious stones?


GOLD can be melted and when it is, the impurities within it are eliminated. This speaks of a broken and humble heart before God.

SILVER exhibits the highest reflectivity of any metal; it shines brightly and only tarnishes when neglected. On the earth it is more abundant than gold. Silver is the color of Redemption for your redemption's purpose is to reflect the Lord Jesus to everyone around you; to be a 'mirror image' of Him. Are you shining? Or are you tarnished?

PRECIOUS STONES - surely you've heard the saying that a 'diamond is just an old piece of coal that made good under pressure'? The precious stones represent our righteous and godly attitudes in times of difficulty; our consistent praise and worship 'in season and out of season', magnifying the Lord at all times thereby expressing our uncompromising faith in Him.

It behooves us now to make sure we have repented of anything and everything that would fall under the categories of wood, hay or straw. The blood of Jesus wipes away that for which we repent, be it self-righteousness, jealousies, fleshly indulgence and any manner of sin. I don't want to stand before Him on that day and have a pile of wood, hay and straw staring me in the face. His precious blood can take care of all that NOW if I repent and receive His forgiveness.

Rather I pray - not just for myself but for all of us - that on that final DAY, as we approach His Throne, piles of gold, silver and many colored beautiful stones will have been woven together into a crown of righteousness, a crown that I will not hold to myself, but will quickly and humbly lay at His feet in thanksgiving for His great mercy, love and faithfulness towards me.


How about you?


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