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Since Timothy’s father was not religious, being a Gentile, it was customary that boys without a living religious father learned about the law from grandmothers if they were still living. (Bible Background Commentary).

What Paul is reminding Timothy is that he comes from a great family of faith. His mother Eunice and grandmother Lois were great women of faith and Paul sees that Timothy has followed in their footsteps. Timothy needs to draw on his heritage of faith for strength and guidance in order to carry the torch of ministry that Paul is passing on to him.

Who makes up your spiritual heritage? Who was it that helped form your faith? Can you still go to those people in times of decision or crisis? Are they still active in your faith development today? Even more important than that is who’s spiritual heritage are you a part of? Who’s life are you impacting? Besides Timothy’s mother and grandmother, Paul made up a substantial piece of Timothy’s spiritual heritage so much so that he refers to Timothy as “my dear son” in verse 2.

It’s his spiritual heritage that will help Timothy fan into flame his gift for ministry.

In order for Timothy to fan into flame his gift for ministry he must draw on his spiritual heritage, but he must also develop that gift. Paul encourages him to develop his gift in verse six. “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.” II Timothy 1:6

The words “fan into flame” that Paul uses here can also mean to “stir up” or “rekindle”. The gift that God has given Timothy is like a fire. It’s burning inside of him. Paul wants Timothy to develop this gift, not to waste it. Paul wants Timothy to intensify the fire within him. Paul wants him to be overcome with passion for this gift that God has given him and use it to its fullest potential.

In the Southwest United States, there is a fire code that helps distinguish the fire danger for the day. WIMS, the Weather Information Management System collects various data and issues these ratings everyday. A low risk is coded by the color green. A moderate risk is alerted by the color blue. A high risk is issued by the color yellow. A very high risk meaning that the conditions are very ripe for a fire to start and spread quickly are indicated by the color orange. An extreme warning is issued when condition are present for a fire to start quickly, spread furiously and burn intensely. This is identified by the color red.

Paul wants the fire in Timothy to be extreme. He wants a code red. He wants Timothy to develop his gift and fan into flame his gift to the point where through Timothy the gospel spreads furiously and its followers burn intensely with a passion for serving Christ and accomplishing his mission.

“But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.” I Corinthians 7:7 The Bible tells us that