By Vic Scaravilli

Jesus established a community so His believers can be united. This community is called the church, meaning assembly, and Christ is head of His followers. The Church is the People of God gathering together throughout the world to worshiping Him.

Christ formed the Church and gave it authority to carry on His mission of spreading the salvation message to the world. When the work the Father gave the Son to do on earth was accomplished, the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost to continually sanctify, guide, and grow the Church until Christ returns. The Spirit works in many ways to build up the Body of Christ.

As Christians, the transmission of the faith consists primarily of proclaiming Jesus Christ in order to lead others to faith in Him. We are all given specific gifts by the Spirit to help us, the Church, in our mission of spreading the gospel message. Isaiah 11:1-2 and 1Corinthians 12:4-11 list the different gifts that the Holy Spirit gives to Christians.

Paul, in Ephesians 4:7-16, writes that every Christian is given the grace of a gift or gifts in order to build up the Body of Christ and each is necessary. The entire 12th chapter of 1 Corinthians is devoted to the importance of the spiritual gifts. These passages tell us that when we become members of Godís family, we become one of the many parts of His Body. Paul also makes the point that although every one of us is different and has unique gifts, all of us are united together in our goal of building up the Church. Also, when one part of the Body suffers, all the parts suffer with it and when one part is honored, all parts share its joy.

Everyone is unique and has certain talents. Some may be good at teaching, evangelizing, and spreading Godís message. Others may be better in administration, leadership, and organization while some are suited for helping, giving, providing encouragement, and assisting others. Our goal is to identify what we can do to give God glory and build up the Church.

Scripture tells us that it is not enough to merely be a member of the Body of Christ as a spectator. Rather, Jesus taught that we must put our faith into action doing what we can spreading the gospel message. We must be obedient to Christ and become an active member in His Body by using the gifts given to us.

An example of using our gifts can be found in Matthew 25:14-30 where Jesus gives the Parable of the Talents. This parable is about three people who were given gifts and what each one did with those resources. Two of the men took what they received and used it wisely and obtained results. The master called these people good and faithful servants. The third person took his gift, buried it out of fear and did not use it. In this case, the master called him a wicked and lazy servant who is useless. Jesus is teaching his followers must do something productive with gifts that are given to them.

Imagine a family with a permanent Christmas tree in their house. Under the tree sits a pile of presents Ė each one purchased with love and thoughtfulness, then carefully wrapped and put under the tree. Yet, it would be a shame if the presents remained there, never enjoyed as the packages of love that they were intended to be. The receivers would never experience the gift, the givers would never be appreciated for giving the gift, and the family would never benefit from the use of the gift.

Our Church was not designed to be a house of unwrapped gifts. Rather, when we identify our gifts and use them for the common good, everyone benefits and most importantly, God is glorified. God is depending on each one of us. What is your gift?