Read: 1 Timothy 1:6-7

My father was a wonderful gardener. He loved when the air would begin to warm, and the ground would shake off its freeze. Out came the tiller and the growing lights to start the process of growing the vegetables we would enjoy all through the summer. He made it look so easy. One day he planted the seedlings, and in a couple of months, he had more tomatoes and zucchini than he and mom could ever eat.

Every time I tried to grow a garden like his, it ended in disaster. One day I told my dad that I had a black thumb. He smiled at me and said, “Kid, you don’t have a black thumb. You have a lack of patience. You have to put in the work to eat the tomatoes.” I didn’t see that my dad had spent time tending his garden every morning and evening.

Paul tells Timothy the same thing:

This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
— 2 Timothy 1:6–7

Paul calls the work fanning the flames. To keep a fire going, it must have oxygen. To keep a garden producing, it must have water and sunlight. For God-given spiritual gifts to be effective in the work and life of the Church, we must develop them. Paul goes on to say that God made us brave enough to use our gifts and do hard things. Sometimes God calls us to step out of our comfortable lives and work. There is nothing wrong with a little work each day. We were not called to sit and scroll through social media or our Netflix accounts. We have to put in the work if we want to eat the tomatoes.

Reflection Questions:

  1. How are you intentionally cultivating your spiritual gifts?
  2. What fears or obstacles might be preventing you from fully developing and using your gifts?
  3. How can you seek God’s help and guidance in overcoming these challenges?