(A reflection on 2 Timothy 1:6-7)
I was just remembering our travels visiting churches. We had my tent, but those cold nights by the fire. You, me, Luke, others. We talked about Jesus, about following.
Remember how the fire would burn down, til there were just coals? If someone sat close, it was warm. But just sitting around the circle, we started to get cool, to get distracted.
But then you moved closer to the fire. You wanted to be helpful, so you moved the logs around. You knocked some of the ash off the coals. The pieces of the logs that were around the edges, you gingerly tossed into the heart of the coals.
And the fire flared up. The flames rekindled. We could see each other’s faces, we felt warm. And in that warmth and light, we planned and prayed.
Timothy, in the same way that you rekindled those fires, rekindled the gift God gave you. I remember laying my hand on your head, remember the delight we all felt as we saw what God had equipped you to do. You have a gift, given to you by God for the benefit of us all. But you have to be involved. You have to feed it.
And I know that makes you fearful. You don’t like to be out front. But I’m not calling you to be out front, to be me. You are quieter, more relational.
But you don’t have the spiritual gift of cowardice. Fearfulness is not from God.
Remember the story we heard from Mark, about the time that Jesus was in the boat and fell asleep. And there was a storm. And the waves came up. And they were afraid that the boat would sink. And they woke Jesus. And he said, “why are you so afraid?” That kind of fear isn’t from God. And Jesus still confronts it.
But you know what is from God? You know what he gives us instead of cowardice? He gives you a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind. A mind that can control itself when faced with things that would cause anyone else to panic.