Sometimes I think that the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12: 4-11, Gal 5: 22-26) are like collectible action figures. We spend so much time pining after one or two or the whole collection that when we finally get one, we keep it on the shelf unopened. While it might be an easy fix with the action figures–buy two, one to keep in the box and one to play with–it’s not so easy with life.
Action figures are toys and are meant to be played with. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are charisms we are meant to use.
If we keep our gifts in the box, are we really appreciating them? If your grandmother gave you a sweater, wouldn’t you wear it to show her how much you love her (regardless of your feelings toward the sweater)?
If we keep them on the shelf, are we any better than the servant who buried his master’s money in fear of the master (Matt 25: 14-30)? Are we not to use our gifts for the glory of God and to build up His Church?
Yet, so often, we refuse to open the package. We dread what’s inside the box. We’re afraid of how others might perceive us when we act out in faith. Those aren’t small concerns. Self-doubt can mire the best intentions and keep us from moving.
However, perhaps we should take the gift off the shelf–even if we’ve given it a place of honor–and open it. Who know what might happen simply by accepting the gift and opening it?