It interests me that Paul urged Timothy, “Do not neglect your gift”. (1Timothy 4:14) What did he know of his son that produced this caution? Perhaps that he could be drawn away by the cares and complexities of life? Or side-tracked, maybe, by less vital matters? Or was he warning that the efficiency of a Spiritual gift is not automatic? That it does not develop per se, that, potentially, it could even decline? I, myself, am the child of an apostle and I grew up knowing that the call of Yahweh was on my life, having been dedicated to the work of the ministry from an early age. I can readily relate to the oversight and love that prompted Paul in his dealings with Timothy. As a young woman struggling to find myself in ministry I, too, needed to be reminded of the importance of the gift, not only to me, but also to the Body of Yahshua. I learned (the hard way!) that this gift was not going to flourish without cooperation from me!
In Paul’s second letter to Timothy we find him touching on the subject again, “Fan into flame the gift…” (2 Timothy 1:6) he implores; “Stir up that inner fire…” is J.B. Phillips interpretation. What had happened to Timothy? Was the fire of passion for his ministerial gift burning low? Flickering dangerously for want of fuel? Zeal is not something that burns spontaneously in a heart or life; it must be fuelled, stimulated, energised. It must be ‘fanned into flame’! There is responsibility attached to the bearing of a ministerial gift; the bearer must invest him/herself as a living sacrifice, again and again, and submit to the workings of the Holy Spirit to bring about growth and maturity.
Photo: Jan Dix