Once upon a time there were three little Christians. Each one set out to build a house out of their faith.
The first little Christian believed in Jesus. She was baptized & saved at a very young age. She knew her Bible well; in fact she took great pride in being able to turn right to any passage of scripture the preacher used on Sunday mornings. She was never one of THOSE people who frantically flipped through their pages in a blind search, or worse, looked it up in the table of contents!
She set out to build her house on wisdom, her wisdom. She was very wise and well read. She didn’t just read the Bible, in fact as she grew older, she hardly read the Bible at all. Instead, she would read the works of great philosophers and theologians.
She attended church every Sunday. She sat in the back so she could keep an eye on everyone. She gave regularly, more out of duty than of love, besides, she could afford it, and the church really needed her help. She did not serve in any capacity. Service was not one of her spiritual gifts. Instead she chose words over action.
She usually disagreed with the preacher and wondered WHERE he got his ideas. She often spoke to her friends about his flaws, as well as the flaws of others. “It’s a shame those people aren’t more like me!” She said as she chose hay and straw to build her home. She knew that the sun would really pick up the golden highlights in the straw!
The second little Christian was also a baptized believer. She believed in Jesus and loved Him very much. She was even going to hang his portrait in her new home.
While she believed in Jesus, she didn’t really believe all the other stuff in the Bible. The God she believed in would never send anyone to Hell. He was a God of love and grace, not wrath. (Apparently she hadn’t read the Old Testament!) Her theology held that people should be as good as they can be. If you asked her why she felt that way, she would quote Gandhi or Confucius.
She didn’t even believe in all of that creation mumbo jumbo either. If they teach evolution and carbon dating in our schools, then it must be true! Maybe God made a big bang and created a bunch of Monkeys and we evolved from that! “That’s much more believable than the preacher’s version of the story!”
She rarely missed church services, even though she didn’t agree with everything the preacher said. Church was more of a social event than a time of worship. She had many friends and family members at church and she was so busy with her and her children’s activities that she’d never see them otherwise.
She also gave great amounts of money to the church. She was certain that the preacher secretly peeked into the offering tray. She wanted him to know what a good person she was.
If we were to ask her if she served others, she would quickly say yes. She would tell us of the time she led the canned food drive for her daughter’s class. With her help, they gathered more food than any other class in the history of food drives. That fact looked great on her campaign posters; she was elected the President of the PTA.
This second little Christian kept so busy with projects and things that she only had time to build her house out of sticks. It was all right though, she had a green thumb. With the proper landscaping, any house can look beautiful.
The third little Christian was very different from the first and second little Christians, though you might not notice at first. The other little Christians looked very much like her and she often blended into the crowd. However, if you looked closely, the difference was obvious!
This Christian always had a smile on her face, even when her mother died, even when her husband lost his job and even when her best friend got a super-duper washing machine with all the bells and whistles. She was filled with the joy and peace that can only come from spending time with God in prayer and reading her Bible every day.
She loved going to church! She loved seeing the smiles on the children in her Sunday school class. She loved seeing them learn about Jesus and His love. She was sure that she received far more blessing from those children than she could ever give.
She loved the songs, the preaching and the scriptures. She often wiped tears from her eyes as she felt the Holy Spirit convicting her, and she would humbly confess her sins to God during communion.
If anyone in the church needed something, they would always call her. “Can you work in the nursery?”
“Can you make a meal for the Jones family? Their baby was born premature.”
“Oh, certainly! I’ll give them a call to see if I can keep their older children as well.”
She was the one who was first to help set up and cook for a church dinner and the last one to leave, wiping the counters and taking out the trash.
She wasn’t all about work, though. She attended a Women’s Bible Study as well. She loved to learn about God and to learn from the experiences of others. She had no idea how her words of encouragement and her prayers blessed the other women. Many times God had used her to bless someone, convict them of a secret sin or challenge them to take a step of faith.
She began to build her home on the bricks of the gospel. She made them her foundation. The people that she helped, the people she served, taught and blessed came to the work-site to offer her gold, silver and costly stones to build her home. In her humility, she started to refuse the gifts, but she remembered the blessing she received when serving others and she graciously accepted their gifts and her house became the most beautiful house on the block.
We can find the ending to this story of three little Christians in I Corinthians 3:12-15, “If any man builds on this foundation 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. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.”
What materials are you using you build your house?