“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good…. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” (1 Corinthians 12:7, 11)
“The common good” is a phrase that has come under attack in recent years within Christianity. Some think that too much of an emphasis on this leads us to a social understanding of the gospel rather than a personal understanding. Of course, we are called to both.
“The common good” is clearly something to which we are called and in his letter to the Corinthian believers, Paul states that this is the very reason that we are gifted. So we cannot see our strengths, talents and gifts as being handed to us for our own use. I’m not gifted to make a good life for me and my family alone. I am gifted for the common good. So if I refuse to use my gifts—if I refuse to hand them to God—people will suffer. Less of what God intended will be accomplished.
With this perspective we’ll look at the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). That way we can see why it was so important to the master that the talents be put to use rather than buried.