Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you… (2 Timothy 1:6, N.K.J.V.)
J. Glenn Campbell tells the story of a family who many years ago ran a sheep farm in Australia. Each year the family struggled to eke out enough to earn a living through the sale of their wool. Occasionally they would be forced to slaughter a sheep just to have something to eat.
One day a geologist happened to be passing through the area on his way to do some work in Australia’s mining districts. The family, who rarely got to enjoy company, happily invited him to join them for tea. During the visit the geologist noticed a large black stone the family was using as a doorstop. He asked, “May I see this?” The family son answered, “Go ahead; it’s just an old rock my father dragged in years ago. He said it looked interesting, so we’ve been using it as a doorstop ever since.”
The geologist spat upon his thumb and rubbed the saliva across the stone. Then he tried using his fingernail to scratch the stone. Having no luck, he pulled out his pocketknife and used it in an attempt to scratch the stone. Still having no luck, he pushed his diamond ring along the stone’s surface. When that didn’t work his eyes opened wide and he announced to the family that their old stone was actually an extremely rare, extremely valuable black star sapphire. Not long afterward the family sold it to a gemstone brokerage for several hundred thousand pounds.
That family had been using that stone as a doorstop for over thirty years! Can you imagine such a thing? Every day they scrimped, saved, worried, and lived hand-to-mouth. Every year they struggled to stay in business just one more year. But all the while they were the owners of an vastly underappreciated treasure.
The truth is that such underappreciated treasures are lying around all over the place. No, they aren’t valuable stones that can be sold for exorbitant prices. They are, instead, talents, skills, abilities, and spiritual gifts that God wants to use to bring great blessings not only to those who possess them but to those who could benefit from their use.
In our text verse, Paul tells Timothy to stir up the gift that was within Timothy. The Greek verb translated as “stir up” is anazopureo, and it is the combination of three Greek words: ana (which means “up” or “again”), zoos (which means “alive), and pur (which means “fire). The metaphoric word picture is one of Timothy’s spiritual gifting being an inner fire that needed to be kept in full flame lest it die out through neglect.
The Bible teaches that each Christian has been given at least one spiritual gift that is to be used in service to Christ. This gifting is imparted by way of the indwelling Holy Spirit who takes up residence within the person the moment he or she exhibits saving belief. This gift is given in addition to the individual’s inborn talents, skills, and abilities. Those were built into the person by God as part of the person’s natural birth, but the spiritual gift is a direct byproduct of the person’s spiritual rebirth in Christ.
Right now let me encourage you to do a self-evaluation and honestly assess what you are doing — or what you aren’t doing — with your talents, skills, and abilities. Furthermore, if you are a Christian, you should honestly assess how you are using — or how you aren’t using — your spiritual gift. Maybe God has you reading this because it’s time for you to fan the flame inside you of something that is lying dormant. And if that’s the case, please don’t drag your feet concerning the assignment because you are no doubt sitting on something wonderfully rare, something that will not only bring great blessing to others but to you as well.