Last Sunday when I preached on the parable of the talents I referenced 1 Corinthians 3:12-13, building with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, and straw. I said, “Every time you serve in a ministry, every time you give, every time you show love, that’s more gold, another precious stone for your life’s building. But there are other building materials—wood, hay, straw. What’s that? It’s not sin, because that’s already been dealt with in Christ. The Lord is not going to bring your sin into heaven. No, the wood, hay, straw is the worthless stuff of life. Watching a show. Time on the internet. Playing golf. Reading a book. As long as you aren’t violating any of God’s commands, none of those are sin. But they do nothing for God’s kingdom. So it’s worthless, it has no eternal value, it’s going to be burned up. And only what you did to serve the Lord will last—that is what will be rewarded.”
When I said “worthless,” I was referring to eternal reward. The Lord has created life for us to enjoy (1 Timothy 4:4-5), including entertainment, reading, golf, and other activities. Furthermore, what may not be seen as gold, silver, precious stones might actually be. When you change a baby’s diaper or fix a meal or bring home a paycheck or help someone, you are showing the love of Christ in important ways, which the Lord will reward.
In the Middle Ages alchemists unsuccessfully tried to find a way to turn common materials into gold. But there is a way to do that spiritually. If you are playing golf with a believer, you can share the truths and encouragement of God’s word (Colossians 3:16). If it’s with an unbeliever, you can ask questions like, “When you die, if God says to you, ‘Why should I let you into Heaven?’, what would you say? Are you interested in what the Bible says about your answer?” to steer the conversation to the gospel. If you are going on a walk, you can meditate on God’s word and pray. As a teenager I began memorizing Scripture verses during my break times at work. Those are all ways to do what Ephesians 5:16 says, redeeming the time, turning it into blessing in this life and reward in eternity.
And if you aren’t yet involved in a ministry in our church, don’t wait any longer—prayerfully consider how you might live out what God’s word says, the growth of the church through the work of every believer (Ephesians 4:16). May we all make the most of the opportunities God has given us, faithful with the talents He has entrusted!