1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 27-31;Psalm 100:1-5; Luke 7:11-17
“You are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27)
We all enjoy receiving presents. It’s even better when what’s inside is carefully picked to suit our personality. We especially remember those gifts that we know the giver put some real time, thought, and effort into choosing.
Those are just the sort of gifts that St. Paul is writing about to the Corinthian believers. These gifts are very valuable because God himself has picked them out for us. He had special talents in mind for us before we were even born. Some of us are blessed with teaching, evangelistic, or preaching gifts. Others he has inclined to “behind the scenes” work such as hospitality, discernment, or administration. Whatever our gifts are, we can accept them wholeheartedly, knowing that they come from a loving Father who has great plans for how we can use them.
Besides all that, these gifts are from heaven! They are supernatural charisms, and they have the potential of bringing a little bit of heaven down to earth. As we learn to exercise our gifts, we can change the world around us—bringing God’s light and truth into places of darkness and confusion. When endowed with God’s grace, even something as “ordinary” as the ability to prepare a delicious meal can be a powerful instrument of God’s love and presence!
Paul makes it clear that God has given us these gifts with an important goal in mind. He wants us to use them to build up his Church. He wants us to use them to bring heaven down to earth so that other people can be touched and changed by the gospel message. These gifts are meant to strengthen us. They are also meant to be given away—to young people in religious-education programs who need good formation, to the poor who have so little and who feel rejected, to the elderly who are craving friendship and compassion, to the next-door neighbor who is longing to hear the good news about Christ.
We are all members of one body. So let’s all use our gifts to build each other up!
“Lord, show me what my gifts are, and give me opportunities to use them. Give me the compassion I need to love your people and the boldness I need to reach out and serve them!” ~WAU