“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.” 2 Timothy 1:6 (NIV)
The snowmen dressed in red mufflers and black stovepipe hats stood cheerily on the dining room table. Amidst all the Christmas decorations, their presence brought the most oohs and ahs. Everyone at the party asked my friend, “Where did you buy them?”
I smiled. I had bought the snowmen candles for my friend as her Christmas gift. I thought to myself, “You did well!”
A group of us chatted around the dining room table. We nibbled on sugar cookies. Holiday gaiety floated through the room. We laughed together until, all of sudden, I noticed smoke emitting from all three of the wax snowmen candles. Before I could speak, flames spewed up and out of the stovepipe hats. The candles burst into flames, spreading into the other table decorations. My friend shrieked for help. Her husband, a firefighter by profession, ran into the room and doused the candles with the bowl of fruit punch that sat on a side table.
We sat in shocked silence. Instead of feeling pride over my gift, I hung my head in embarrassment. Now everyone wanted to know where I had purchased the fire hazard, because they didn’t want to buy anything of the same nature.
Thankfully, God’s gifts to us are never a fire hazard, but Scripture does tell us to allow them to burn brightly. The apostle Paul instructs, “I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you” . . . 2 Timothy 1:6 NIV). The Lord doesn’t want us to sit by quietly with unused abilities. He does not want us to be shy about His precious gifts. He wants us to use them to bless others.
We may think we do not have a gift. The truth of Scripture promises us, “But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that” (1 Corinthians 7:7 NIV). We can’t argue with that, can we?
So what spiritual gift do you have that Christ wants you to use this Christmas season? Consider Romans12:6-8, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully” (NIV).
Let’s start right now with encouragement. Let’s encourage each other to allow our spiritual gifts to burn brightly during the Advent Season. And, as we fan our gifts into flames, let’s pray that others will recognize the glory of the Most High God who slept in a cold dark manger.
Dear Lord, thank you for giving me my spiritual gifts. Teach me how to use them, so that others may see You and desire to know You more. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
© 2008 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.
It was Susanne who God used in my life to encourage me to use my spiritual gift. In her message at the She Speaks conference, Susanne spoke the words that God had secretly spoken to my heart the night before "Don't bury your talent." This is not talking about being talented. It's saying that if I chose to bury rather than use the talent that He gave me, I'd be a "wicked and lazy servant." When we invest the talents he gives us, we will hear "Well done, good and faithful servant." [Matt. 25, Luke 19]
Dear Lord, Thank You for the gifts that You so generously give, for the Greatest Gift ever given and for the spiritual gifts you give to us. May we invest them for Your kingdom. May You alone be glorified as we serve You. May the gifts we give this Christmas reflect the Giver of "every good and perfect gift." James 1:17.