A couple of summers back, I worked as a wilderness guide for a Bible camp in Alaska. Each week, I would help take a different group of teens out into the wilderness. It was always a new adventure fraught with unknown challenges.

If you’ve ever done any sort of wilderness outing, you know how important it is that everyone in the group pull their weight. Now this doesn’t mean that everyone must carry the same weight in gear; In fact, that can become incredibly damaging. One must match the task according to each individual’s skills and strengths for the betterment of the group.

For example, if two people are portaging a canoe and one decides they’re tired and simply drops their end without communicating, it can injure their partner. If nightfall comes and everyone is freezing and the only person who knows how to light a fire decides they’d rather go to bed, the whole group could now face hypothermia. Or say you’re rafting, and the guide decides to enjoy the float and not watch for rocks; Likely, the entire raft will capsize. What one individual decides to do or not do affects more than just themselves. They have a responsibility to each other.

When it comes to the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30, one might think this story is merely about wise investments. Upon closer reflection, however, it depicts the responsibility laid upon each believer in Jesus Christ. Just as each person in a backpacking party cannot carry the same weight, so each of us in the body of Christ is given different gifts and varying amounts of responsibility. And it is vital for us to use them. Saying yes to Christ is not just an easy float down the river while waiting for eternity.

While it is clear in scripture that salvation is a gift from God that we cannot earn (Ephesians 2:8-10), it comes with the caveat that we start living it out now (Phil. 2:12,13). Each of us is given different responsibilities, giftings and opportunities, not just for ourselves, but for the betterment of our brothers and sisters (1 Corinthians 12:7).

Just as each individual in a white water raft has a task at hand, so do you. Do not wait until tomorrow. What opportunities has God placed in front of you today? How are you investing your time, talents, and treasures? Remember, your role is pivotal to the community of believers, as well as to the development of your faith (James 2:14-24).