This verse may seem a bit strange to some people. After all, if Timothy had a gift, why would Paul tell him to fan it into flame? If the gift is present, why would Paul need to remind Timothy to use it?
Some time ago, my family gave me a cordless drill. I really like it a lot, but I use it more as a fast and effortless screwdriver than I do as a drill. The truth is, though, that since I’m not really the handyman type, I don’t use that cordless drill very frequently.
Yesterday I was doing some very minor repairs to the deck on our house. It meant removing several long screws and replacing most of them with even longer ones. Suppose I absentmindedly grabbed a regular screwdriver and went to do the job. After all, it’s been awhile since I used the drill. If my wife came out and saw me, she likely would have asked why I wasn’t using my gift, the cordless drill.
Similarly, we can have a tendency to neglect the gifts that God gives us. We tuck them away, and, through neglect, they start to fade. Their brightness dims. The flame becomes only a faintly glowing ember. And those gifts need to be fanned into flame.
Don’t neglect to use the gifts that God has given, but don’t be afraid to use them either. Paul adds these words immediately after the “fan into flame” verse. “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7).
God has given you gifts to use. Those gifts are to serve others. “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another” (1 Peter 4:10).
Don’t neglect the use of your gifts; fan them into flame.