“I’m writing to encourage you to fan into a flame and rekindle the fire of the spiritual gift God imparted to you…” (2 Timothy 1:6)
When Paul wrote these words to his mentee Timothy, he knew his time on Earth was coming to an end. The executioner’s blade loomed on the horizon. Still, the work to which Paul had dedicated the years of his life, ever since his encounter with the risen Lord while on the road to Damascus, must continue. Timothy, among others, were chosen vessels to take up this mantle much in the same way Elisha took on the mantle of Elijah.
My wife and I are in the process of purchasing and installing a gas fireplace in our condo. I miss having a fireplace. Burning a winter fire in a previous home was one of those small joys that people often talk about experiencing but are hard pressed to name in the moment if asked to do so.
Getting the fire started (it was a traditional, wood burning fireplace) always took a few moments, but once the kindling or fire starter log caught it wasn’t long before there was a roaring blaze of leaping flames. It was beautiful to watch.
Split wood logs were added to keep the fire going as we relaxed with a book and a cup of coffee (for me) or tea (for her). On Sunday afternoons, we would often fall asleep in the warmth of the fire only to wake to the glowing embers that was once a fire. Stirring these embers and adding a piece or two of wood usually revived things and once again the beauty of the blaze would fill our sights.
Fires need to be fed fuel and fanned if they are going to burn hot. This is true in the physical and in the spiritual world. Paul uses this imagery to exhort Timothy to be a good steward of the spiritual fire lit in him; otherwise it would die out and the work to which Timothy had been called would wilt on the vine.
Many people begin well. They are on fire for the Lord; their enthusiasm and energy is contagious. Not all, however, continue to fan the flame of their faith over the long-haul. Whether it be a lack of commitment to grow deeper and deeper spiritual roots or getting caught up in what Jesus called “the cares of the world” or spiritual confusion/frustration, what were once roaring fires of the spirit become dying embers that are sorely in need of something to reignite what was once there.
Whether it knows it or not (and I tend to think it doesn’t), the world needs those whose flames burn high and hot for GOD…and for those who have been given much (like gifts of the Spirit), much is required (Luke 12:48).
© Byron L. Hannon, 2021. All rights reserved to text content unless otherwise noted.