“Wherefore I put you in remembrance that you stir up the gift of God…”
These words stood out to me today. Hours after I’d first heard them, they still echoed. I opened my Bible to Second Timothy, and thought about them more.
God gives us gifts. Real gifts, evangelism, joy, service. But these gifts require humility, a pouring out of ourselves. We can’t take credit for what God gives.
It’s easy to fall back on our manufactured gifts. The things we do, our ideas, hard-earned talents. They”re noticed, praised, almost easily created.
Stifled, still, forgotten – Where?
Raging, running, searching for escape:
Stopping, dropping true consideration
Falling, tis of my own creation.
These gifts can be good. But they don’t rely on Christ. Instead, they’re the things the world praises, what we can be noticed for.
In the end, they feel useless. You spend so much time on these gifts, hours of intensive labor. But the fruit seems to dry up. You don’t get the promotion. Another person is praised. Your gift hurts, instead of blesses.
Created it is, but still parched.
Forced, fake, dust and ashes
In hands to force the turns
Desperate hope to be spurned.
Questions hammer down on you. Am I useful? Am I wasting my time? Why doesn’t anything turn out right?
Crumbling, the turning wastes
Dust and ashes, dried and cracked
Wanting, dreaming to be used
But gifts neglected and abused
Serving others shouldn’t dry you up. It’s not about you. When serving God becomes centered on your own power, you can become an Elijah running from Jezebel. Your manufactured gifts can’t protect you from pain and hurt. They won’t give you peace and accomplishment.
Instead, these gifts leave you lonely, whining, “Am I the only one serving you, God? No-one else tries to serve you like I do.”
God’s gift are for our good. He pours them on us. We don’t need to fight others for them, or find our sense of accomplishment through His good gifts.
Our sense of worthiness will come through Christ, and not by our service. His gifts enable us to say like Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.”
When we rely on our own gifts, we’re never sure if we’ve kept the faith faithfully. Have we done enough service to earn that coveted praise, My good and faithful servant?
But our manufactured gifts can’t earn us praise from the Father. The Father lavishes good gifts on us, with His love and praise.
“I in them and Thou in me, that they may be perfect in one, and that the world may know that Thou hast sent me, and has loved them, as Thou has loved me.” – John 17:23
Jesus prays that we will be one with the Father. That we will live in His love. He loves us, just like He, the Father, loved His Son, Jesus. “Has loved them, as Thou has loved me.”
That gift strengthens us. We don’t need to sweat, and strive, and create gifts. We do need to stir up the gifts God has given us.
Stirring up means not being afraid. Boldly entering the Throne – talking to your Father, living in the strength God provides. Fear kills the gifts God gives.
Right after encouraging Timothy to stir up the gift of God, Paul continues, “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the Gospel according to the power of God.”
God’s gifts are power, love and a sound mind.. Through His Spirit we can live in, partake in, the Gospel.
Real gifts, given free, true free
Take stir, press, hard try.
Cry, seek, gifts will not be lost
Given at such great a cost.