In this passage, Paul talks about laying the foundation for something to be built on. He says that the only foundation worth laying is that of Jesus Christ. No other foundation is worthy of being built upon. Then, Paul talks about what happens after that foundation is laid. People begin to build and will create a lot from that. Just because there is a structure on that foundation, does not mean that it is a good structure even though it has a firm foundation.
One day, the work will be tested by fire. If it is good, the workers receive a reward. When Paul is talking about all of this, he seems to be emphasizing that salvation is not the end goal of Christianity. There is still work to be done even after the foundation of Jesus Christ has been laid. Paul makes sure to emphasize that the quality of the work does not determine salvation. Even if the building doesn't stand, Paul says the builder will suffer loss but will be saved.
I think it is important to see that God cares about having things done that matter and are good. Anything that we build up for ourselves that is not good, we will lose in the fire, and it is not necessarily a bad thing. Those things were not worthy of being built up in the first place. The only things that will stand at the end of our lives are the things of God that are worthy of standing. If that means that only the foundation laid by Jesus is what's left by the end of our lives, then so be it, but let us desire to partner with the work that God wants to do.
God, I pray that I would recognize the reality of what it means that I am a temple of the Holy Spirit and that what I do matters. Let me not think that what I do changes the salvation you have given me, but let me seek to follow your higher ways. Thank you that you are the one who enables me to do that. Amen.
- Daniel Bailey