Summary: Flame on!
Someone said that at the end of our lives, we will regret the things we didn’t do more than the things we did. But when that time comes I think we would like to sing the line of a famous song, “Regrets I’ve had a few. But, then again, too few to mention.” One of my fears in life is that I would just remain a potential. That when I look back I would realize I failed to harness it. I always remind myself, “Don’t remain a potential. Be potent.” I believe we all want to reach our potential in life. We would like a few regret in life, if possible none at all.
We are about to finish a series on spiritual gifts. And we come to the point where we ask, “Now what?” What do we do now? Let us turn to what the Apostle Paul wrote to a gifted man who like you and me would like to realize his potential in life. 2 Timothy 1:6-7. “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. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”
Paul was in prison for his faith. He told Timothy, “everyone deserted me.” Everyone… except Timothy. But perhaps at this time Timothy was feeling the heat, the persecution from outside and the pressures of ministry inside. He was young. He was just in his thirties. People questioned his abilities. He felt intimidated. He was sickly. But Paul knew his sincere faith. He was stressed out but still sincere, still willing to go on. That’s why Paul wrote to Timothy, “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God”.
Underline those words, “fan into flame”. In 1 Timothy 4:14 Paul commanded him, “Do not neglect your gift”. Instead of neglecting his gift, Timothy must fan it into flame. The Greek word for “fan into flame” is a rare word. In fact, this is the only time the New Testament used it. Thus it must be an important reminder. It does not mean that his passion is about to go out. That Timothy was about to quit. It does mean “keep the fire burning” or “stir it up into full blast”. In other words, Paul told Timothy, “Release the brake. Step on the gas. Floor the accelerator. Full speed ahead!” In the famous words of the Human Torch, one of the Fantastic Four, “Flame ON!”
Maybe we can identify with Timothy. Maybe you know you could do something. But you felt you are not ready. You feel you are not trained. So, when you see an opportunity to serve, when you are asked to do something, you refuse to take it on. I tell you, set your gift on fire. Fan it into flame. Flame on! Or, maybe you tried to serve but you got criticized. Maybe you made a mistake. You think you failed. You got discouraged. So, you decided to lie low. Now, you just stay low. I tell you, don’t allow the fire to die down. Fan it into flame. Flame on! Or, maybe you have been serving for a long time. But it’s getting stale. You are getting tired of what you are doing. You feel unappreciated. People only notice you when you make a blooper. Fan it into full flame! Flame on! If you are our first-time friend, you can only be ignited if you first receive our Lord Jesus as your Savior. Then with us you can flame on.
Now, how do we “flame on?”
First, do IT. Yes, in the famous line of the TV commercial, “Just do it!” As we got through the series on spiritual gifts, while you listened to the description of the gifts, in your heart you said, “I think that’s my gift!” Then, do it! That’s the only way to confirm whether you have the gift or not. A spiritual gift inventory test may help. But nothing beats hands on, when you roll up your sleeves and do something.
You realize, for example, that you have the gift of service. You tell yourself, “So, that’s why I love to have people come over my house for a visit.” Then, you can volunteer as a greeter and help make people feel at home here in our church. You can talk to Sister Jasmine and sign up as a greeter. You can serve at least once a month as a greeter. Or, you saw that you have the gift of evangelism. You say, “So, that’s why I love to talk to people about Jesus Christ.” You can volunteer as one of our people who welcome our guests in the visitors’ room to talk to them about our church and about our Lord. You just talk to Brother Ferdie. You just allocate one Sunday every month in your schedule to serve in the visitors’ room. We will not take much of your time but we assure you that it will mean much to you. Do it. Flame on!