Passing the Torch . . . fan your gift into flame
Fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you.
2 Timothy 1:6
As I write, the 2018 winter Olympics are in progress and I am being drawn in—must be a little of the Canadian winter in me still. Besides, I may know the sports better than you southerners. For instance, have any of you ever “curled”? Do you know what “icing” is?
This year the Torch Relay intrigues me. Olympic.org tells us the first games were held in 776 B.C. in Olympia Greece. According to myth, Prometheus stole fire from the Greek god Zeus. The flame in the cauldron on Olympia, ignited spontaneously by the sun, burned until the close of the games. Before every modern Olympics the flame, lit in Olympia by the sun reflecting off a parabolic mirror, burns in a cauldron there for eight days. It then is transported via torch, by relay, to the site of the current games.
Fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you, said Paul to his protégé Timothy. In southwestern speak, this is Paul’s “last rodeo”. The flame of the gospel was lit in his soul on the road to Damascus and had never gone out; but he now knows it is time to pass the torch to his son in the faith. In this his final letter he wastes no words, determined to ignite Timothy’s passion for his love of the gospel.
Timothy obviously had it in him. His mother and grandmother had taught him well—first the Old Testament lessons, then those of Jesus. His faith was “sincere” and alive (1:5); Paul had affirmed it by his laying on of hands, most likely at an ordination service.
However, by taking the torch from Paul things were going to get tough(er) for Timothy in the game of life. Key would be his reliance on the gift of God already in him.
The gift—what is the gift of God which Paul refers to? First of all, to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:7). The Holy Spirit, in Timothy’s spirit, would substitute power and love and self-discipline for any inherent timidity (2 Timothy 1:7). The Spirit then gives (individual gifts) to each one, just as he determines (1 Corinthians 12:11) for the work of ministry. Timothy had the gift within; he simply needed to take advantage of the Holy Spirit’s fire to ignite it.
So it is with each one of you, ladies. You have the Holy Spirit; He will empower you to use the gift(s) you have in you. The torch has been passed to you as well as to Timothy.