There are times when you think you understand a passage, and then a preacher reveals something you’d never noticed before. This was one of those mornings. Just as a building has a foundation, so do our lives. As Paul writes to the church in Corinth he points out something which every Christian has, Jesus Christ as our foundation.
If we are Christians, what we are building should reflect our foundation. We should be building with that which is precious, costly and permanent, rather than that which is easy to come buy, quick to build, cheap and fleeting. Do we ensure our lives are built with good solid biblical teaching rather than the clever arguments of men, do we work to build the kingdom of God rather than that of men? Are we members of a local church, committed to serving God in our locality, or are we unwilling to commit to one church and merely feeding instead of working?
Our motivation should not be to seek the praise of men, but the reward of God. This reward will not be in this life, being a Christian will not make us materially rich, nor necessarily healthy. The reward will be on the day when we will all stand before God. Will we be able to say that we used the foundation we were given to its fullest potential, or will we have underdeveloped it?
Do we seek to serve a merciful God in a merciful way? It is very easy to be like the Pharisees Jesus addressed and think that only those who consider themselves righteous are worthy of hearing the gospel. When Jonah was asked to preach a message of repentance to the people of Ninevah, he was reluctant, not because he was afraid, but because he didn’t want the Ninevites to repent and receive God’s mercy.
Are we like Jonah? Do we bear grudges against those we have difficulties with? The Jews in Roman Palestine had a particular dislike for the tax collectors who served their Roman rulers. The tax collectors were helping to fund an occupying force, whilst also lining their own pockets with a percentage of the taxes. When the Pharisees questioned Jesus’ interaction with tax collectors and sinners, his response to them was to quote from the prophet Hosea.
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. Ho 6:6
God is merciful, and will grant mercy to all who repent of their sin, even tax collectors.