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There have been many an argument over spiritual gifts. What they are. What they aren’t. Who gets them? The list is endless. So much of life can be boiled down to the K.I.S.S. Philosophy. (Keep It Simple Silly [kind version] ) The source, purpose and results of the ‘gift’ are all that really matter. God is the giver. We are the recipient (gift receivers don’t choose their gift). The beneficiaries are others around us. The praise for the results returns to the gift giver, not the gift bearer. I know the arguments. There are theologs out there who will disagree with me. But I believe a spiritual gift is anything we do that benefits others and draws them closer to God. So here comes the heresy! Being a really good Walmart shelf stocker can be a spiritual gift if you do it with a joyful heart, in good character, giving glory to God. So don’t be surprised if you see a Walmart shelf stocker finish stacking a box of cookies and point to the sky. You’ll know they read my blog!

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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

When I was very young my grandparents took me with them on a camping trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota. Other than ‘camping’ at Bible Camp, this was my first camping adventure and everything was new and exciting.

Grandma and Grandpa had been camping for years and I learned much from him. When I read 2 Timothy 1:6 I was reminded of how Grandpa would light a fire every night when camped, or when we’d spend time at his lake cabin. Sometimes we’d have dry wood to burn and it would ignite easily. Other times the wood may be green or wet and would smolder or the flame would die out completely.

When the fire didn’t get started as quickly as Grandpa would have liked, he would take a piece of cardboard or something to fan the fire. Soon the smoldering heap would flare up into flames that would warm a cool night and cook our supper…and smore’s of course!

What Paul was really telling his student is this, ‘Remember the things I’ve taught you. Remember what you have learned about God, about yourself, about others. You, Timothy, are a gifted man. A man who God has placed in the right place at the right time to make a difference in his world.’

Our Father has the same message for us. Each of us has been given gifts and talents to be used of God. Sometimes the ‘wet wood’ of doubt can cause our flames to die out or smolder worthlessly. The ‘wet wood’ of our lives could be doubting that we can make a difference because of our past, or our current struggles. It could be doubting that we can make a difference because our gifts aren’t as good or important as other people’s gifts and talents. We could be bogged down by guilt and shame because we are suffering consequences of poor decisions in our past.

Just as my Grandpa fanned the flames into existence from a smoldering heap of wet wood, let God fan life into you to make a difference in your world. As a Christ-follower you have an important part to play in someone’s life. It could be a family member, a friend, a co-worker. Whoever it is needs to know they are loved by God and can be forgiven.

Sometimes Grandpa would have to fan the smoky fire several times before the flames would roar to life. Don’t expect change over night. Allow God’s Spirit to work in you to bring the fire in your life and the lives of others.  Don’t let the ‘wet wood’ of doubt keep you from warming the lives of those who need to experience first-hand, the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ.

PRAYER: Father God, I praise you for making me the way I am. By faith I acknowledge that I have gifts, talents and abilities that can be used by you. I confess that often times I feel like a failure for past mistakes and the consequences I’m now suffering as a result. Forgive me for doubting you. I ask that your Holy Spirit would fan the flames of life into me so that I can warm the lives of those around me. In Jesus name, Amen.

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