"I remind you to keep using the gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. Now let it grow, as a small flame grows into a fire." (2 Timothy 1:6, New Century Version).
I enjoy sitting on my patio with a good fire going in the outdoor fireplace. The crackle and pop of burning wood, along with the distinct aroma of lit timber, make for a soothing experience -- especially on a chilly night. In some ways, that's the effect our faith ought to have upon others -- especially in times of darkness, when the love of many grows cold.
In our verse today, old Paul is exhorting young Timothy to "stir up the gift that is in him." The language he uses is fireplace talk.
A fire must be stirred, the coals turned and new wood added, or else it will go out. And, of course, there must be an air supply of some sort. In the same manner our lives need the presence of the Holy Spirit blowing upon the gifts and abilities He has placed in our hands, as we do our part to be faithful is using what He has given us.
Paul's words to Timothy are now God's word to us. "I remind you to keep using the gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. Now let it grow, as a small flame grows into a fire."
There is a personal responsibility here. We cannot sit idly by and expect God to do what He has commanded us to do ourselves. We must acknowledge God’s will, affirm our obedience, and actively use our gifts.
It is true in almost all things, that a person gets better by repetition. Bill Hybels said, “What you feel the most deeply about, you will give yourself to do your absolute best for." How deeply do you feel about the call upon your life to bring honor to the name of Jesus? Doesn't he deserve your absolute best?
Rekindle the fading embers of a dwindling flame, my dear friend. Your days are not over, nor is your service finished. The nights are cold and dark, and your flame is needed nbow more than ever in the midst of the camp!