2 Timothy 1 vs 6 - 7
“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”
Dark mornings, and rain, Coronavirus and social distancing, it’s going to be a long winter. Temperamentally, some of us don’t cope so well with the dark evenings anyway but this year especially it would be easy to fall into gloom and despair and in part at least lose our way in terms of our walk with Jesus especially as we miss the fellowship and help of others in the church family. In a way though that calls for us to re-double our efforts and dig in as we persevere in faith and while we may not have regular face to face contact with other Christians we have some and however difficult things become nothing restricts or hinders our access to God through Jesus Christ. So right off, there is something to be encouraged about.
The words above were written by Paul to Timothy a young man finding his feet in leadership of the church. Timothy’s family were well known to and long term friends of Paul’s and Paul would have known Timothy since boyhood. By this time Paul’s loneliness was very much like that of some of us today but not for the same reason. He was in prison for his faith and cut off from those who might otherwise have encouraged him. As he wrote of his association with the family and their legacy of faith he longed to meet Timothy and be filled with joy.
Despite the fact that the recipient of this letter was one individual, all scripture is given for our help and instruction. So, what do we learn from Paul’s words above? Well, the first thing I think is a reminder that faith is not something we possess to be locked away and forgotten about and just let out on Sunday for an hour or so. It is a living vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ which at times burns low or which we can lose or extinguish if we do not live it. On the other hand when it is lived and shared it encourages other Christians. The other thing to bear in mind is that gifts God gives to individuals are for the benefit of the whole church family. We may if discouraged, fearful or lacking in opportunities neglect those gifts, deprive the church of the benefit and risk losing them completely. This winter there may be many reasons to feel discouraged but lack of the Spirit’s help to grow in our faith and encourage others to do the same is not one of them. So, fan your gifts into flame by exercising them with the Spirit’s help, for the good of other believers and to the glory of God.