The foundation that has already been laid is Jesus Christ, and no one can lay down any other foundation. But if people build on that foundation, using gold, silver, jewels, wood, grass, or straw, their work will be clearly seen, because the Day of Judgment will make it visible. That Day will appear with fire, and the fire will test everyone’s work to show what sort of work it was. –1 Corinthians 3:11-14 (NCV)
A parable has been told of a carpenter, who on the verge of retirement, was coaxed into building one last home by a wealthy client. The carpenter was pressed by his own thoughts to put his working days behind him, so he made a decision to cut corners on the project. He used inferior materials and his workmanship was suspect, at best. Clearly, his heart was not in the work. Eventually, the carpenter finished the home. It looked good from the outside, yet the carpenter felt guilty, as he knew the quality of the home was not up to his old standards.
On the day that the wealthy client was to take possession of the home, the carpenter received word from the client, saying, “I’m aware of your reputation as a builder. I know how hard you’ve worked for your clients throughout your career. So, I wanted to reward you at your retirement. I’m giving you the house you’ve just built.” The carpenter was shocked! If he had only known beforehand that this was to be his home, he would have built it with the finest materials and workmanship. But, now it was too late.
This parable reminds me that couples build their marriages much like a carpenter builds a house. Our home-building materials are the what we build our marriage with and include characteristics such as faith, love, grace, mercy, forgiveness and kindness (or their opposites). Our workmanship looks at the how we build our marriage. Are we building our common life together purposefully, pursuing excellence in our relationship, working at our marriage with all our heart, in the name of Jesus and for His glory? Or, has shoddy workmanship been the story of how we have built our marriage? My own confession: too often I forget to intentionally invest in both the materials and workmanship I put into my marriage. I forget that I am building my house. How about you?
Let’s not be like the carpenter in the parable. When it comes to our marriages, let’s be prepared. Let’s build intentionally. Let’s build it right. One day, each of us will stand before the Lord and give an account for our workmanship. Our motivation ought to be to hear the Savior say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
1. Spend some time discussing both the materials and the workmanship being invested into your marriage. What’s working? In what ways does the house you are building need some remodeling?
A STEP CLOSER:
Together, discuss and then commit to action steps you and your spouse are willing to take in the coming week to become more intentional about building your marriage.