What does Paul mean in 2Cor4:16-18? Is 1Cor3:10-15 an appropriate cross-reference?
In the NIV, 2Cor4:17 reads 'For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory...' The ESV (which appears to me very similar to the NRSV) uses the word 'preparing' in place of 'achieving'.
I can only conclude that Paul understood that his (our?) work in this life will be reflected in the next life. As he writes in Galatians 6, we will reap what we sow, and if we sow to the Spirit we will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
What a good reason to do good things in our lives!