By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their 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 person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
Paul tells us in this passage that someday Christian leaders’ work will be judged. And perhaps by inference in this passage and from other scripture, all Christians’ works will be judged. The metaphor used is fire and the good works are likened to gold, silver and costly stones, which survive fire. The works which do not survive are likened to wood, hay and straw, which are readily consumed in the flames.
The foundation is Christ and what is built on that foundation is to be worthy of Christ, in others words in keeping with him, his person and work, his call and his kingdom, his grace and truth. The work must be in and of Christ, otherwise it is worthless. People seem to be part of God’s work in this, “God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:9)
In the end our boasting is not in any leader or in ourselves, but in the Lord, even if we may be able to boast of the work the Lord has given us to do. It is all of him, if it is work worthy of him, yes, the work he has given us to do. So that our boasting ends up being in the Lord himself. True especially of those followers of Jesus who are called to help others become faithful followers of him.
And we are in this together in Jesus for the world.