2 Timothy 1:6-7 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 God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
In my experience these two verses are generally quoted out of context with each other, and it just struck me that they are intimately connected. The area in which Paul doesn’t want Timothy to be timid is in the use of the gifts God has placed in him. Frankly, using gifts can be risky. Sometimes we fail to recognize the gifts, but at other times we focus on the gifts instead of on the One who gave them to us. When we move forward obediently using the gifts, many people will be blessed but others will be envious and critical. Using gifts effectively generally makes waves, and that can be risky business. We’ve got to remember first of all where the gifts came from. Since they are from God, that means they don’t really belong to us, even though they are in us, so they are not ours either to hide or to flaunt. Timothy was evidently a more reticent person than Paul, so Paul felt he should encourage him in this way. We would all do well to ask the Holy Spirit to help us do a spiritual inventory of what gifts have been placed in us and how we are using them, because chances are, every one of us has plenty of room for improvement.
In my own case I have felt almost over-gifted, capable of almost anything I set my mind to (other than sports). However, that has led to a failure of effort, of diligence, of focus, and my life has not been nearly as productive as it might have been. For myself, I need to let the Lord show me which gifts He wants to use through me at this point and apply myself faithfully in those areas. As a pastor, I need to help the believers recognize the gifts that are in them and encourage them to use them faithfully to do the things that God has prepared in advance for them to do. (Ephesians 2:10) I deal with young people who are uncertain as to what gifts they have and whether they will be able to succeed in using them. I deal with people in their 30s and 40s who are burned out to a degree and want to take the easy path. I deal with older people who feel they they are past all usefulness, and aren’t sure what gifts they really had in the first place. All of them need help! It’s clear that I don’t have the wisdom necessary to help them all, so once again I am totally dependent on God. That’s not a bad thing! Actually, pastoral ministry is an area in which I have not felt particularly gifted, so anything good that happens is clearly of God and not of me.
Father, thank You for this Word this morning. I needed it! Right now You have me writing a book, and I’ve been letting all sorts of things distract me from that. I ask Your forgiveness. Help me be diligent day by day and step by step, so that the fruit of my life will be exactly as You desire, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!