Today I encounter the great verse from 2 Timothy 1:6 where Paul advises Timothy to “fan into flame” his spiritual gifts. Some translations say “kindle afresh” or “stir up” those gifts.
As I think about this idea of fanning your special gifts into flame, I recall what it takes to get a fire really going and why one must “fan” a fire.
The system needs oxygen–lots of it–from the air until the fire is strong enough to take the oxygen from the air itself. When you fan a flame, you’re helping this process. It’s an intentional action designed to help a flame survive. Then, nothing can stop it. At some point, it’s been fed enough; it takes off in a great, sustained blaze.
I wonder how Timothy might have intentionally fanned into flame his gifting. I think about ways we might enlarge and sustain our own gifting, whether by practice, study, prayer, more exposure, or more intentional use. It’s convicting and challenging to ask whether we’re intentionally fanning into flame the gifts God has given us.
I don’t want to waste my gifting. I don’t want to flicker and fade, snuffed out by discouragement, apathy, or fear.
But then I think about myself as someone who might help fan into flame the gifts of other people who have a flickering flame. I think about naming spiritual gifts in others, encouraging their use, providing public opportunities for them, and praying for their full development. Let me kindle something afresh in someone else.
You keep feeding the tiny flame. You fan and fan until, one day, the whole thing blazes up in an unstoppable display of God’s glory.
I’m walking about this life, fanning into flame what I see of God in you and me.