"For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands."
2 Timothy 1:6
It's summer time! Which means the kids are out of school and my days are jam packed with planning activities, entertaining kids, swimming, baseball, horse back riding, referee-ing disagreements and maintaining sanity (theirs and mine). That has left very little time for things like quiet time with the Lord, spiritual disciplines or writing.
And I must say I have missed it greatly. It is through writing that I process the things God is teaching me. The act of organizing my thoughts and getting them down in print is almost therapeutic for me and it helps me better understand the lessons I am learning. Needless, to say, thus far, this has not been a summer of great learning for me, and I find that frustrating.
Last night found my family once again at the ball fields (no surprise there!), where I saw a young boy in a t-shirt I simply loved! The t-shirt read "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard." I pointed it out to my boys and after a great discussion we all agreed the t-shrit was true. When I got home later that night, I was reminded of this verse Paul wrote to Timothy, "For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God." Timothy had talent too, a gift of God to teach, preach, encourage and lead the church in Ephesus. But much like the t-shirt read, Paul was telling Timothy that talent, or a gift from God, isn't always enough. It also takes hard work, you need to fan the flame, make it grow, develop it.
Whatever your talent or spiritual gift might be, whether it is baseball, writing, singing or praying, Paul tells us to fan this gift into a flame. Don't just take natural talent for granted but work hard. And that talent, that spiritual gift will grow into a flame that no one can put out.
Very few gifts are given to us in full bloom, they need to be nurtured and developed. They need to be practiced and repeated. We have all heard the adage that practice makes perfect. Though none of us will ever be able to claim perfection, our gifts do need to be practiced. If your spiritual gifting is prayer, then practice prayer, study prayer, read about prayer, learn about prayer and fan into a flame your gift. If your spiritual gifting is music than practice music, sing, play, dance every day, fan the flame. If your spiritual gifting is writing, than write... every day.
My boys coaches will tell them to "see the ball" everyday. Practice. Because talent isn't enough. Hard work will beat talent if talent doesn't work hard.