Read: 1 Corinthians 3:5-15
I smiled this week as I talked with a friend on the phone. She was telling about her little grandson who was decorating his own small Christmas tree. He was putting the ornaments all in one little area, but that is just fine because it is his special tree to decorate as he chooses.
In our own case, our tree doesn't have a theme unless it might be "ornaments that have held up through the years." On the other hand, I know people who go to great lengths to create a tree where the colors are perfectly coordinated and the tree shimmers with precision and beauty. Each tree is pretty in its own way and a little about the one who did the decorating shines through, especially when the tree is lit up. When the lights are lit, the beauty is clearly seen. What an ‘aha’ moment!
What if each of our lives were A Christmas tree and what if there is a "tree lighting ceremony" over which Jesus will preside. In 1 Corinthians 3:5-15, Paul reminds us that there will be a day when those who belong to Jesus will stand before Him so that what we did for Him might be judged. Since this is true, how will we decorate our tree throughout our lives so that when the Lord shines His light on them, gold, silver and precious stones will be what remains?
1. Surely, we would be careful, watching our motives as we serve. In Matthew 6, Jesus warns us about giving, praying and even fasting in order to be lauded by those around us, rather than doing what we do to please God. It is so easy for us to work to be admired by others. Because of this, some of the shimmering ornaments that we might think will be on our trees will not hold up under Jesus' loving and holy gaze. Yet, what joy there will be when the acts we have done with a pure heart are revealed and shown to be beautiful.
2. Surely, we would be wise and rely on the Holy Spirit's power and filling as we live each day, Ephesians 5:18. We would take advantage of the opportunities to honor Him with our faithfulness, Ephesians 5:15-16. Yes, some of our deeds might look bright and shiny; however, if we accomplished them through our own power and cleverness, they will not stand. However, what beauty will shine through when the Lord reveals how He was honored even when we felt so weak. In those times, what was accomplished was truly because of His power, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. On this side of life, I wonder how many circumstances seem like broken ornaments to us; yet to God, they will sparkle brightly when He assesses all things.
3. Surely, we would remember that the Lord sees our ordinary faithfulness, those every day small acts of obedience. On this side of life, they look like clear plastic unpainted ornaments. Too ordinary to even matter. Yet, when we stand before the Savior, these things unnoticed here on earth might shine with special beauty because Jesus takes note of even a cup of water given in His Name, Matthew 10:42. Can you imagine all the lives of those who belong to Jesus, each shimmering because of Him? How in awe will we be to know that our lives display beauty because of the times Jesus lived through us and changed us bit by bit, Galatians 2:20; 2 Corinthians 3:18. Talk about a tree lighting ceremony and a parade of lights honoring the Light of the world Who has chosen to display even a bit of His light through each of us.
Lord, Help us live today with the knowledge that we will stand before You to receive commendation for what we have done to honor You. Thank You that even though some of our works will be burned up as wood hay and stubble, we will not face judgment because of our sins if we have trusted You to save us, Jude 1:24-25; Romans 8:1; 2 Corinthians 5:21; John 3:16.