1 Corinthians 3:10-23 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 the work of each builder will become visible, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each has done. 14 If what has been built on the foundation survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If the work is burned up, the builder will suffer loss; the builder will be saved, but only as through fire.
16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?[a] 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
18 Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written,
“He catches the wise in their craftiness,”
20 and again,
“The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise,
that they are futile.”
21 So let no one boast about human leaders. For all things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all belong to you, 23 and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.
Paul tells us in this passage that Jesus has laid the foundation for the building up of the church, and it is for others, that is his people, to build on. We build upon the work of Christ by faith. Though we are saved by faith alone and not by our works, nevertheless our works matter in the building and edifying of the church, and our good works done by faith will be rewarded.
To do the works that please the Lord in faith, however, we need to be humble. We need to put aside all ideas that we have the required wisdom, become fools for God, and look to him for his wisdom. Then our works will have eternal value, because the eternal God is the one directing them.