Christmas is a gift-giving time. And it’s a great time at that! I love picking out that one special gift for that one special person. It brings me great joy to share my love for others with others in this way. But the greatest gift we can give others is our faith in Jesus Christ. Paul says to the Romans, “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong…” (Romans 1:11). This morning, Dan and I read Romans 1-2 together and we were imparting to each other a spiritual gift. As a result we were giving power and muscle to each other’s faith.
First, we shared a special truth from scripture that was specific to each other; and by this we encouraged one another.
Secondly, we shared what God is teaching us; this gave credence to our own faith and affirmation to the other’s faith.
Thirdly, we took the opportunity to build each other up with specific words from the passage.
Fourthly, in this sharing we gave energy to each other’s calling. And that calling is to share Jesus with a dying world.
When we share our faith with a dying world, we (like the Romans) can develop a name in the community. Paul thanked God for the Romans, because “their faith was being reported all over the world,” (Romans 1:8). Notice that Paul did not thank them for their service to the church, their outreach projects or even their faithfulness to their families. These are all good, but his greatest praise was because their faith was being reported all over the world.
These Gentiles were living the truth – by sharing their faith – and they were making a mark on an unbelieving world. Because of their outward mission, the Romans had developed a reputation!
At Christmas, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the wrong things. We can get caught up in the decorations, gift buying, our personal projects, the system of doing church, and even our church programs. All are good; but they only serve as a structure. While this structure is necessary for organization, we must remember Christmas is not about us, it’s for us. And it’s not about what we gain as much as what we give. If we gain anything, I pray it’s a reputation of sharing our faith in a dying community.
This Christmas, give your good gift of faith to each other. Communicating our faith with each other helps us all carry on the mission of God, which is to share boldly Jesus, the Savior of the world, with those who are far from Him. Much of what we have wrapped under our tree is temporary, but faith offers timeless gifts of peace, hope, and love that just keeps being unwrapped day-to-day until the second Advent of Jesus.