Stir Into Flame The Gift of God

Today is the Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, collaborators, confidants and companions of St. Paul. One of the options for today’s first Mass reading is the opening of St. Paul’s second letter to Timothy.

In the opening paragraphs of the letter, Paul reminds Timothy to “stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.”

I love that line. I love the imagery and I think the reminder is a very important one.

I think sometimes people forget that God doesn’t do all all of the heavy lifting. I’ve heard people say (on more than one occasion) something like, “Oh I don’t really feel like I have to [do][prepare][work] too much here. The Holy Spirit will take care of it.” Or “I’ll just rely on the Holy Spirit.”

It is true that we do what we do with the grace of God and the assistance of the Spirit. But, that doesn’t mean we can just sit back and wait for God to do everything. We have been given the gifts of the Spirit, but it is for us to stir into flame those gifts. We need to nurture our gifts, allow them to grow and use them for the purposes for which we have been given them.

That is not always easy, and the last line of today’s first reading is Paul’s encouragement to Timothy to “bear your share of hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God.” We are encouraged to do the same.

UPDATE: See the comment below from a reader about the authorship of the Second Letter to Timothy.