This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Tim 1:6-7 NLT)
Scripture teaches us that Paul and Timothy first met during Paul’s second missionary journey into a region known as Lystra and Derbe. We learn in Acts 16 that shortly after Paul and Silas arrived, the Christians living there began to tell them of a young disciple who had a deep commitment to the Lord. How old Timothy was at that time we’re not told, but even in his youth, he so impressed the great apostle that Paul encouraged him to join them.
Eventually Paul assigned young Timothy the responsibility of pastoring the church at Ephesus. That was no easy task, especially for someone so young. The church in Ephesus was in a state of great turmoil due to false teachers who were confusing the people with their doctrine. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul wrote – “Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.” (2 Tim 4:2 NLT)
I am sure that there were some in the church at Ephesus who were resistant to Timothy’s ministry – partly because he was standing for the truth and partly because he was so young. Yet Paul told him, “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” (1 Tim 4:12 NLT)
The Bible seems to indicate that Timothy had somewhat of a timid personality. That is why Paul did all he could to encourage him. Today we began this devotional with some of Paul’s encouragement – “fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you.” With those words Paul was telling Timothy that he had a divine calling upon his life. He was also telling Timothy that he had the responsibility to take what it was that God had given him and use it to the best of his ability. ‘Begin with that spark of power God gave you and strive to turn it into a roaring fire.’
I believe that God would have each of us to do the same. Maybe we’re young or maybe we’re old. Maybe we’re talented or maybe we’re not. Maybe we know a lot about the Bible or maybe we know very little. Maybe the door of opportunity is currently wide open or maybe there is only a small crack. Maybe we feel confident or maybe we don’t. Regardless of where we are at, it is our duty before the Lord to take what it is that He has given us and turn it into a roaring fire.
Many years ago I heard a man say that the most important ability anyone can have is their ‘availability.’ Is your spark available to be turned into a flame?