Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Fanning the flames -- 2 Timothy 1:6-7

It feels weird to talk about gifts or talents, to acknowledge that you think you're good at things. At least it does for me. I don't like talking about myself. Not at all. And saying that you think you are gifted in one way or another is definitely talking about yourself.

But just because we don't like to talk about it doesn't meant that we don't all have talents. We do. But reading through the Bible the other morning I came across a verse that challenged me, so thought I'd share it here. Faith is, after all, the third F in the tagline up top.

"6 For this reason I remind you to FAN INTO FLAME THE GIFT 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."

It's 2 Timothy 1:6-7, and the emphasis there is mine. And I know that how I'm reading it is not necessarily how Paul meant it when he wrote it, but this verse really hit me.

"Fan into flame the gift of God." 

For some reason, fire imagery has come up a lot in my work lately. I'm pretty sure I have some discussion of a fire being whipped into roaring flame in Digi City. And there's definitely similar imagery in the current WIP. So it's certainly something I've been thinking about. So maybe that's why the fanning into flame language struck me as I read.

This is kind of how I see the talents thing. When we are being formed God takes out his Holy Measuring Cup and gives us all an equal measure of everything that makes us human — kindness, love, compassion, etc ...  Then he looks at each of us individually and gives us a little extra in a few places. Those extra portions are our gifts and talents, and He has an expectation that we will take those and do something with them. That we won't waste them in the service of nothing.

Now, I don't think that we have to take those talents and use them specifically for church work or kingdom goals. We can use them in other ways. I do think — and this does feel weird to type — that one of my gifts is written communication. I'm good with the words. Or pretty good. Good enough for someone to pay me for them and for the clients I work with to be happy.

Still, I wonder, am I doing all I can with those gifts? I think about it often. Have I fanned the flames? Or am I letting them smolder, eventually to go out? 

I don't know that I've done all I can. I pray about it. I want to be a success as a writer. I want to use those talents for good things, but am I? I don't know. I'm not sure that anyone will ever feel like they've done everything they could with all they've been given. I guess I'm not alone in these feelings. But I feel like God wants to do more through me. I just don't know how. It's a trust thing in the end. Let Him lead. Follow where you think He's going, knowing that He's not going to take you down a path He hasn't equipped you to walk.

I don't think there's some big conclusion to this post. Not surprisingly, it helps me to write when I'm working through stuff, so thanks for letting me ramble on God for a bit. I'll probably be doing a bit more of this in the future. It's something I've wanted to do for a while. It's why I added Faith to the tagline when I added the header years ago, but I've always been hesitant. But this is my blog, right? And if there's anything I shouldn't be hesitant to talk about ...