Of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 2 Timothy 1:11
When my son’s teacher asked me to serve as a chaperone for their science camp, I hesitated. How could I be a role model when mistakes littered my past, when I still struggled, stumbled, and slipped into old bad habits? God helped me love and raise my son, but I often doubted He could use me to serve others.
Sometimes I still fail to recognize that God—the only perfect One, the only One who can change hearts and lives—transforms us over time. Then the Holy Spirit reminds me how Paul encouraged Timothy to embrace his on-the-job training, persevere in faith, and use the gifts God had given him (2 Timothy 1:6). Timothy could be courageous because God, his power source, would help him love and be disciplined as he continued to grow and serve those within his sphere of influence (v. 7).
Christ saves and empowers us to honor Him with our lives, not because we have special qualifications but because we’re each valuable members of His family (v. 9).
We can persevere with confidence when we know our role is to simply love God and others. Christ’s role is to save us and give us a purpose that extends beyond our small vision of the world. As we follow Jesus daily, He transforms us while using us to encourage others as we share His love and truth wherever He sends us.
In today’s reading Paul notes how God has “called us to a holy life” (2 Timothy 1:9)—a life set apart for Him. Such a life involves God’s calling and our obedience. So Paul urged Timothy to “fan into flame” his spiritual gift (v. 6).
What does it mean to “fan into flame” our gift? One key is to acknowledge God in everything. Perhaps we need to trust Him in a big trial. We may need to acknowledge Him in “trivial” matters. As we give Him our huge challenges and the aggravating details, He completes His work in us. He loves us enough to work on us for a lifetime.