To the amazement of its owners a single house remains intact in what was once the thriving town of Lahaina on the Hawaiian island of Maui. As wildfires swept down the mountains and burned to the ground every other house, for some reason this one survived. The fact that it did so may be down to recent renovations – the asphalt roof was replaced with heavy-gauge metal and overgrown foliage was cut back. Whatever the reason the owner’s relief and gratitude will lead them to offer their home as a refuge to the many who have lost theirs, when it is safe to return.
Whether or not a building can survive a fire is an analogy used by St Paul to question the foundations on which we may be building our lives. One day, he says we will all stand before Jesus Christ and on that day ‘fire will test the quality of each person’s work’. He warns that anything not built on Christ will be burned up. If he’s right, then we would be wise to consider the claims of Jesus to be the saviour of the world and wiser still to find in him a safe and eternal refuge.