In addition to the verses above, there are others in Scripture (Eph. 2:21-22; 1 Pet. 2:5) where the Church is seen as a building under construction. Here the Lord is the foundation which Paul laid, and we are called to join Him in the Church construction business. The question is, “How are we building it?” Paul, the expert, cautions us to build carefully, using only the best materials, because our reward depends on it (1 Cor. 3:10-15). This reminds me of the story of a master builder who was asked by the owner of the company he worked for to build one last house before retiring. With retirement in view, his heart was not in the job, so he was not careful about the skill of the craftsmen chosen, the quality of materials selected, the sturdiness of the construction and the attention to the details of the plans. He even violated building codes in places where no one would notice.
In short, he worked as though he did not care. When he finally finished the job, the owner of the company said, “Here are the keys. This house is your retirement present.” The builder was numb with regret. Had he known, he would have built this house with much more care!
Our Lord provided us with the best plans, the Bible, for building His Church. He purchased the best materials, “living stones” bought with His own blood (1 Pet. 2:4-5). He gave us the gifts and abilities to do the job well (1 Cor. 12:4-11; Eph. 4:11-12). Finally, He hand-picked the best co-workers (1 Cor. 3:9).
If we are careless how we build, it would be good for us to remember the above story, because it has its roots in Scripture. The “temple” (the dwelling place of the Spirit) referred to collectively in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 is also referred to singularly in 6:19. In other words, God doesn’t dwell only in the Church, He dwells in us as well. We are the Church!
By Larry Ondrejack
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org