As a farmer, making hay bales is a noble endeaver. The hay is used to feed the farm animals and the straw is used for their bedding. There are also many other uses for the hay. The Israelites used its straw when they were forced to make bricks for Pharoah. But making hay for the Kingdom of Heaven is an entirely different situation. Let’s see what the Lord has to say about it:
For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (I Corinthians 3:11-15 NKJV)
This clearly teaches us that we must only strive to achieve things that are permanent and precious in the Lord’s eyes. Whatever works aren’t, will be burned up. Read the two stories of two different men’s encounters with Jesus:
Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” So Jesus said to him, “You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ” And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich. (Luke 18:18, 20-23 NKJV)
Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region. And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled. (Mark 5:17-20 NKJV)
The difference between the two men was obedience. This teaches that there can be two men working side by side for the Kingdom of God doing what people perceive as great things. But when it comes time for the judgment of their works, only the one who obeyed according to his calling will be rewarded. The Lord had specific things for the rich man to do, but he did not heed his calling. We do not hear anymore about this rich man, so we don’t know what happened to him.
But we do know this about the former madman. When Jesus came back through the region where He healed him, Jesus was confronted by a multitude of people who wanted to hear what He had to say and what He could do (Mark 7:31-37). This was quite a turnaround from when the people of this region had previously asked Jesus to depart from them (Mark 5:17). This was all because of the faithful obedience of this former madman.
It is never too late to stop making hay bales and to start doing things that will withstand the fires of our Lord’s judgment. None of us can be ignorant of this because we have His written Word which is the Bible and we have the Spirit of His Word which we receive through prayer.
There is an extremely successful preacher and writter from Texas who smiles a lot. But when I compare what the Bible teaches and what this man teaches, there is a huge gap. The Bible teaches that everything is about God and how we can serve Him. All our blessings are secondary to our allegiance to Him. But everything that flows from this man from Texas is ‘you’ and what ‘you’ can get from God. He acknowledges that God is truly great and Almighty, but only in the sense that He is more a genie than Lord Supreme who is sovereign over all. The question is: He has built up an extremely successful ministry in man’s eyes, but can it withstand the fires of our Lord’s judgment when it comes to works according to I Corinthians 3:11-15? Will yours?
Your talent is not always the same as your calling. I will leave you with what Paul deeply shares:
That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10 NLT)