2 Timothy 1:5-6
5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.
One of the things Paul remembered about Timothy, while he was sitting in that Roman prison, was the faith that Timothy had. The word unfeigned is used in the KJV while sincere is used in the NIV. Some other ways this Greek word is translated are genuine and without hypocrisy, which is the most literal translation of the word. This says a lot about Timothy’s faith and makes me wonder if someone would say the same about my faith. Paul says this faith was first seen in both his mother and grandmother so it was a heritage in his family. What a great heritage to pass on!
I had a wonderful conversation\n with my oldest daughter last week. She really has not been active in church and her faith did not show very much through the years. At times she even said she didn’t know how she believed anymore. She is currently going through a big change in her life. She has always enjoyed travelling by car and bought a conversion van once her daughter had graduated school and gone into the National Guard. There were some changes happening in the company she worked for which she did not like, so she gave her letter of resignation. She sees this as an opportunity to carry out her dream. She has always been very frugal and has a good sum of money pout away for that “rainy day.” Even after her job ends in May, she has enough put back that she can go 6 months without working and be okay.
She has a double master’s degree in accounting and is looking for an accounting job that is 100% remote – and she says there are plenty of them out there. She made the statement that she has bene praying to God about finding the right job and knows that He will bring that to her. What music this was to her father’s ears. But there’s more! She told me she remembers that she felt called to be a traveling evangelist when she was at teen camp (I thought it was a missionary) and that perhaps this was God’s way of helping her fulfill that call! She mentioned that she thinks she will start attending churches as she travels and if people need help she will help them. I was in tears! What a precious thing to hear from one’s child!
I am sure Lois and Eunice felt the same way. Imagine if Billy Graham wrote your child a letter telling you that he remembers the faith of your mother and grandmother being in you. Paul was kind of the Billy Graham of his day. I am sure, if your parents had a strong faith, that they would be elated and overjoyed by such a statement. Timothy had sincere and genuine faith. He was not faking it. His life was lived according to the faith that he proclaimed to have and Paul could see that. What a testimony about Timothy’s life! I can only hope people see that kind of faith in me.
One of the big problems in the church is hypocrisy. I think we can all agree on that. Many people claim to have faith but their life shows just the opposite., They worry about everything, they complain incessantly and they mistrust everybody, including God. They walk around saying they are Christians and the world wonders what good it is to be a Christian if this is the attitude it produces. They don’t stay with their commitments, they identify with the ways of the world and they walk in sin on a regular basis. This has given the church a black eye! It is no wonder the world has no attraction for the church anymore. It is not wonder the world sees no advantage to being in the church anymore. If the church exhibited the sincere and genuine faith that Timothy had, I think we would see a more vibrant church today. Let us each make sure we are displaying this kind of faith!
I love to bake! I make some awesome cookies (not my words, but everyone else’s). I am one of those people that always follows a recipe when I bake. I want to make sure the ingredients are correctly measured because I know that the baking soda will only affect the amount of stuff in the recipe. If it is not right, the recipe will not rise correctly and it would taste different. Al of the ingredients are important. But most important of all is that you stir them together and not just let them sit separated and try to make cookies. That would be one ugly mess in your oven!
This is what I think of when Paul tells Timothy to “stir up the gift.” On a daily basis I am meeting all kinds of people. I am talking with them, listening to them, helping them, offering advice to them, being kind and considerate to them and many other things that come into my life. Among the things I do I need to stir up my spirit so the gift of God is blended in with everything else I do. It is not isolated inside me so I use it only when I am in church or in a Christian setting. The gift of God should be used in our daily conversation. People need to see and know that God is working in our lives. They all need Jesus more than anything else, and the gift within us is what will draw them to Christ. The gift must be evident in everything we do.
What is the gift that is given by the laying on of hands? It is the infilling of the Holy Spirit as happened ion Acts 2. He is the power of God that comes and falls upon us to make us more effective witnesses. This is another reason we must stir Him into our daily activities. The Holy Spirit will give us power. He will bring God’s word to our remembrance. He will teach us the truth. He will speak to us and give us the words to say when we are faced with difficult circumstances. He will always be with us. There are also gifts that the Holy Spirit gives us. These gifts come by the same laying on off hands. In contrast, these gifts need to be stirred up within us so that they rise to the top. We cannot let them stay dormant. Like stirring up a sleeping child, these gifts will minister to people as needed. The gifts of wisdom and knowledge, healing and discernment, miracles and faith, tongues and interpretations. All of these are useful not only in our churches but in everyday life. We must be attentive to the Holy Spirit as He helps us understand when to use these gifts.
Paul calls these two things to Timothy’s remembrance and He also calls them to our remembrance. He asks us to keep in mind the faith we have received from those mentors in our lives. Those who have guided us through this journey. Those who have a special place in our hearts because of their devotion to Christ. And He asks us to always be mindful to stir up the gift of God, the Holy Spirit, so that we can faithfully minister to those around us. Is your gift stirred up?