Paul wrote this letter to Timothy while in prison and in anticipation of his own execution. Paul was greatly concerned for the welfare of the church and for the spreading of the gospel and so, with a sense of urgency, he was blunt with Timothy. “For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.” (v.7)
Facing tough times, and believing that Timothy would also face tough times, Paul wanted to encourage him. Paul wanted to inspire Timothy, to fan the flame for Christ what was within him so that he could carry on, even without Paul, in spreading the good news of salvation.
I don’t watch a lot of television game shows, but I do remember one in which an individual considered “the weakest link” was dismissed from a group. I thought that was a very clever phrase. It conjured up a mental picture of a sturdy chain, but with one link so stretched that it could snap at any moment.
Perhaps Paul was concerned that Timothy was weakening as a link in the chain of Christian ministry that connects man to God. Though most of us are not ordained ministers, each of us is charged with Christian ministry in spreading the gospel, and we are charged to do so boldly through the power of God and the Holy Spirit living in us. How sturdy a link are you? How sturdy a link am I?
Dear God, as Paul urged Timothy, may we “rekindle the gift of God that is within” and, with courage and faith and love and self-discipline, boldly spread the good news of salvation. Paul wrote: “Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.” (v.14) May we do so faithfully.