Thursday, June 26, 2008

Stir up the gifts

Twice in the letters to Timothy, Timothy is told to utilize the spiritual gifts he has been given. In 1 Timothy 4:14 he is told: "Do not neglect the gift that is in you which was given to you through prophecy with the laying on of hands by the council of elders. Put these things into practice . . ." And in 2 Timothy 1:6 we read, "For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline." This becomes a double reminder to me that my choices and my will greatly impact my ability as a Christian leader.

First, I must not neglect the gift that is within me. There are over 25 different spiritual gifts in the New Testament and we do not all have the same package, the same function or the same calling. This is one of the things that makes Christian ministry so very interesting. Some of these gifts are up front and obvious (music, exhortation, teaching, prophecy, and the like would be on this list). Some of these gifts are in the background and less obvious (helps, administration, mercy, come to mind). Regardless of how God has gifted us we must not neglect using what God has put in us for the body of Christ. It is an act of will to stay engaged in what God has called me to do.

Second comes the issue of rekindling. If I have neglected the gift that is within me it is also likely that this particular gift needs to be awakened, re lit, reignited, or stirred up. Sometimes these spiritual gifts are latent within us and, frankly, sometimes they have gone cold from lack of use. It becomes an act of will for me to choose to reengage in the work God has called me to do and to rekindle or stir up the gifts, abilities and talents placed within me.

What are you doing to rekindle? I am committed to spending a half an hour a day, one day a month and one week a year alone and/or with my covenant group keeping the fire lit, and keeping me healthy and engaged. What are you doing to rekindle? I am also taking some "me" time to disengage and go and look at something else for a few weeks. All of these things can help us to not neglect what God has placed inside of us and to "rekindle" it when necessary.

Come Holy Spirit and kindle in me the fire of you love . . .

Dr. BJ

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