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Bringing to Light the Worth of a Life

Fredric John Baur, a chemist with Proctor & Gamble, was the inventor of the familiar Pringles can that holds stacked potato chips. When he died, he asked that he be cremated and a portion of his ashes buried in a Pringles can. His children reportedly stopped at a Walgreens on the way to the funeral home to buy the can, choosing the classic original flavor.

At the end of your life, what words and actions do you want to endure? The major metaphor in today’s reading is a building metaphor. Individually and communally, our lives are pictured as construction projects, with the quality of our building materials to be tested and evaluated on Judgment Day. The foundation for this building project is Christ, the one and only basis for our salvation (v. 11).

Are we spending our lives on things of temporal or eternal value? Earthly priorities and activities are merely wood, hay, and straw, while godly values and pursuits are gold, silver, and precious jewels (vv. 12–13). The latter will endure, while the former will be reduced to ashes.

Paul was speaking of believers here, so the difference is not in eternal destiny but in whether a person earns rewards. If we do the good works God has prepared for us to do (Eph. 2:10), with godly motives and for God’s glory, He has promised to reward us.

Alongside the building picture, light is a minor metaphor but it carries a major impact. “The Day will bring it to light” means that on Judgment Day the Lord will reveal the worth of our lives, including hidden motives and outcomes (v. 13; 1 Cor. 4:5). His justice and mercy are perfect and can be trusted both today and on that Day!

Apply the word

A creative exercise for thinking about today’s passage is to write your own obituary. What legacy do you wish to leave behind? If an obituary sounds too long, write your own gravestone epitaph instead. Then pray over what you’ve written, asking the One who is Lord over life and death to help you live toward His purposes for your life.

BY Brad Baurain

Dr. Brad Baurain has worked as a writer or editor for Today in the Word since 1993. Currently, he serves as associate professor and TESOL program head at Moody Bible Institute. Brad has the unique privilege of holding a degree from four different universities (including Moody). He has also taught in China, Vietnam, the United States, and Canada. Brad and his wife, Julia, have four children and reside in Munster, Indiana.

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