16 April 2018

Hi and hello there. Welcome to a new week of the Foundations Daily Podcast. My name is Dave, and each day this week I’ll be bringing us a short thought for the day. As you know we’re moving through the letters of the New Testament at the moment and this week we’re looking at the first two chapters of 2 Timothy.

REFLECTION:

This is the second of the letters that is addressed from Paul to Timothy. We often include this letter in a group called the pastoral letters, along with 1 Timothy and Titus. Rather than being aimed at a whole Church, written to be read out for all to hear, these letters seem to be aimed more at the individuals. The individuals had pastoral oversight of their Churches, and this comes up a lot in the letters, hence the pastoral letters. As with all God inspired scripture though, we believe that God wants to speak to each of us through His Bible. This week let’s approach the passages with a real expectation that God will speak to us and impact our lives.

Paul’s letters usually start with a similar greeting. In this letter in verse 2 he writes ‘To Timothy, my dear son, grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord’. Grace, mercy and peace. This is the phrase that we will keep coming back to this week. How do we live lives that are full of grace, mercy and peace? Not everything we explore will directly fit into that and we’re not going to fully unpack each of those words but what they do is give us a framework to start with. They tell us of what is at the forefront of Paul’s mind. Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Today we’re focusing in on chapter 1, verses 1-7. After a great reminder about spiritual parents and thankfulness, Paul says this is verses 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 the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.’ There are a few key things in this passage that I want to draw out. We all have gifts from God in our lives. The key word there is gifts. God freely gives us good things. They are an act of His grace not our worthiness. Maybe we have the gift of hospitality. Maybe we have a gift of wisdom, maybe of listening, of teaching, of discipling young people. God gives all kinds of gifts, but we don’t have to earn things from God, He gives us gifts. This is key in understanding that we all have a God given purpose, not just some, but all of us. Whilst we don’t earn these gifts, Paul does suggest that we can ‘fan them into flame’. We can exercise the gifts God gives us; we can make sure we’re feeding ourselves spiritually. We do have responsibility to use our gifts wisely.

The second half of the verse is important too. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. God’s spirit in us doesn’t cause us to be timid, or to be fearful as some translations read. However that doesn’t mean we won’t have times when exercising the gifts He has given us is scary. Recently Kate and I learnt about one of her ancestors, a man called Gordon Flowerdew. He was a soldier in WW1 and was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for; I quote, “most conspicuous bravery and dash when in command of a squadron…” He died leading a cavalry charge. Like countless others in the war, he showed bravery when you can bet he would have been feeling anything but. For us, we believe that God is our strength when life is hard. As this verse says, God gives us the power, the love and the self control to operate in the gifts He gives us. In other words, the ability to bring Godly change, (power) the reason for acting in the first place (love) and the wisdom how to act. (Self control)

PRAYER:

God thank you for the gifts you give us and put in our lives. Give us the power, love and self discipline to use them for your glory and the good of those around us today. Amen.

READING: 2 Timothy 1:1-7

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, in keeping with the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,

To Timothy, my dear son:

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.

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 the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.