Every day during Lent, members of Oconee Street UMC will write a Lenten devotional and share with the congregation.
March 6, 2014
by The Rev. Valerie Duncan
“…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.” 2 Timothy 1:6-7
Paul wrote letters to individuals and to the churches he was busy establishing to help them in their ministries. They were establishing a new faith in the midst of the old worship of idols. This was a living faith. Sometimes I think of it as being like the difference between playing with dolls and caring for a real baby. It was not easy. They could take nothing for granted.
In this time of Lent, people often think of “giving up something for Lent.” I think Paul is calling Christians to become something, to give of themselves; even to be steady in difficult times. It is the gift of God that enables us to do more than we thought we could.
We need to be reminded what that gift is: a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. With that we can change the world. That would be way too much to take on without the gift. But the power is in faith. Love is for one person at a time. Self-discipline is sometimes translated as “a sound mind.” That can be a call to be thoughtful and focused.
We begin ministry where we are—at a place on the corner. We love someone who needs our love and care. We face discouragement and risk our faith being thought irrelevant or, worse, foolish.
A real church begins with many small ministries—with each person using his or her gifts in the service of Jesus. It begins with people working together and helping each other. It grows into being God’s faithful people. These are excited Christians growing in faith and love, constantly being renewed, so that not even a fire can stop them.
Lord, we give thanks for all you have given us. Help us to grow in thanksgiving ministries. Amen.