Formations 05.23.2021: Rekindling the Gift

2 Timothy 1:6-14

What have you done with yourself during the pandemic? If your answer is, “I stayed afloat,” that’s perfectly okay! A lot of people didn’t. This has been a hard fourteen-plus months for all of us, and there’s no shame in admitting that it has taken a toll physically, psychologically, and even spiritually.

At the same time, I’m encouraged by the stories I hear of people who have found creative ways to cope during the long months of lockdowns, distance learning, Zoom, and GrubHub. Some have thrown themselves into their favorite hobbies, like my retired friend who has gone all-in on his woodworking.

Others have tried to learn something new. Do you remember when breadmaking was the latest pandemic craze? Do you know someone who has taken up painting, knitting, or playing a musical instrument over lockdown?

Rather than learning something new, some have taken to re-learning something old. They have revisited past hobbies or avocations, things that once captured their imagination but fell to the side because “real life” got in the way.

I’ve revisited old hobbies a couple of times in recent years. About a year ago I ran a tabletop roleplaying game (think Dungeons & Dragons) over Zoom for some of my long-distance friends. Though I was a serious D&D nerd in high school, this was only the second time I’d played in decades—and I thoroughly enjoyed the memories it brought back.

Has anything like this happened to you? Have you ever picked something up and wondered why you had ever put it down in the first place? That doesn’t just happen with hobbies. It can happen with relationships. And it can happen in our spiritual journeys.

In our passage for this week, Paul urges Timothy to “rekindle the gift of God” as he faces numerous challenges in his ministry. This gift involves possessing a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline (v. 7), vital equipment for a life of service to Christ.

Timothy had “the gift of God,” but maybe he had set it aside. Maybe the fire of the Spirit didn’t burn as brightly in him as Paul thought it should. At any rate, the gift needed rekindling.

I wonder if that doesn’t describe a lot of us. We have the Spirit, imparted by faith and confirmed in our baptism. But that doesn’t guarantee that we always follow the Spirit.

On this Pentecost Sunday, perhaps we can imagine what it would be like for the gift in us to be rekindled as well.

Reflect on “the Holy Spirit living in us” (v. 14). And then challenge your class to do the same.

Discussion

  • Have you taken up any new hobbies over the past year? Have you gone back to any old ones?
  • How does it feel to revisit a place, an activity, or a relationship that once gave you joy?
  • If we possess the Spirit, in what sense might we need to “rekindle the gift,” and how can we do so?
  • What is the relationship between the work of the Spirit and the work of Christ?
  • What is the Spirit’s role in producing power, love, and self-discipline in us and in fulfilling all the other commands we find in this passage?

Darrell Pursiful is the editor of Formations. He is an adjunct professor at Mercer University and an active member of the First Baptist Church of Christ in Macon, Georgia.

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