My dad taught me how to build a fire when I was young and it is still one of my favorite things to do. With a good structure and the smallest of sparks I can get a nice fire blazing. Paul reminds Timothy, his son in the faith, of the sincere faith that was passed down to him from his grandmother Lois and mother Eunice and encourages him to fan into flame the gift of God. Paul encourages Timothy to recognize the embers still kindling inside of him and calls him to fan these embers into flame. I’ve knelt next to many fires that were about dead and blew life back into them. The embers just need a little bit of focus and a blazing fire will erupt again. Timothy is called to ignite the Spirit within him.
This Spirit gives us power, love, and self-discipline. It is the power of Christ who destroyed death and has brought life and immortality. It is in this reality that Paul calls Timothy to join with him in his suffering. The call to suffer doesn’t make ant sense unless there is something greater than the suffering. The fire that burns within Paul is greater than any fire he encountered in this world. The fire is the Spirit ignited in him, taking over his life, and transforming it into a new creation. This is what Paul is calling Timothy to as a leader in the Church.
We have this same Spirit within us waiting to be ignited. Recognize the embers kindling within you and ignite it. Recognize the embers in each other and fan it into flame. We are not called to be timid but to be people of power, love, and self-discipline. Fan the flame.