To the unskilled Christian, the skills are buried!
You’re at an academic reunion and see your old friends. As you all reminisce about the old days, the conversation turns towards each of your accomplishments. Some in the group have advanced to high levels, and you marvel at how far their skills have brought them. Others who knew what they wanted early in life have accomplished those goals, and now have families and stability. The conversation turns to you and what you have done in the past time. Perhaps you struggle to quantify your achievements. You try to find the common thread that connects all happenings in the previous time frame. Yet you fall short of what to say. What have you done? Why is it always so hard for you to know what you really want to do?
Talking about skills and gifts quickly becomes an uneasy topic for some. No one wants to feel left out of the talent pool. Yet, many feel inclined to believe they have little or no talent. As a result, they feel more comfortable functioning as a pew warmer in a church that will swallow their presence.
We are a mission minded church, set to fulfill the Great Commission found in Matthew 28. In order to accomplish this, we must first emphasize the importance of your contribution.
Body of Christ requires spiritual gifts
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul compares the church to a body. A body is made up of many parts. It can only function properly if each part works together for the common good. Jesus Christ functions as the head of the body – don’t forget that! In the body of Christ, no one body part can say they are superior to another. Furthermore, no one body can say they are inferior to another! All members in the body of Christ are equally important, even if each part provides different levels of contributions.
Paul crowns both ends of this chapter focusing on different gifts. You’ll notice in verses 7-11 that the emphasis on the origin of the gifts. The Holy Spirit gives these gifts to whomever He sees fit. These gifts aid in the mission of spreading the Gospel to the world. Paul closes the chapter by emphasizing the placement of these gifts. Each of these members are placed in the church and become identified through their spiritual gifts. Thus, Paul says through this chapter that spiritual gifts come from one Spirit, that gifts of people function as one many parts in body, and that gifts should be placed within the church for the common purpose.
In other words, if you are baptized into God’s body, you have a spiritual gift.
This week’s message focuses on identifying your spiritual gift, so we will not delve into that right now. However, a discussion on spiritual gifts would not be complete without briefly discussing the parable of the talents.
Quality, not Quantity
The parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) reveals different amounts distributed to three people by their master. At the end of some time, the master asks for a report on how his talents were invested. Considering he gave the exact same answer to the first two individuals, we learn that quantity does not matter. His harsh rebuke of the man with one talent indicates that this man was punished for not using what God gave him to build his master’s assets. At the very least he could have invested it in the bank, but he let the talent sit idly.
We face this same danger of letting our talents go to waste if we do not use them for God’s glory. The number of talents plays no factor in the judgment. It is what we did with what God has given us. God has given you a talent. You need one to be a part of Jesus’ body. Whatever it is, be sure to use it, otherwise, you’ll lose it.