Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Fire-fighter (10/05/06)
- TITLE: To fan or to fight - that is the question
By Suzanne R
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Thank you so much for your letter. That you addressed me as ‘dear son’ moves me to tears. I am honoured.
Uncle … Father … can I open my heart to you? We can talk more when I join you in the autumn. But want to raise the issue now because I know my courage will fail me when I’m with you.
You have such high hopes for me. I want to make you proud. But even the great prophet Moses struggled sometimes. I do too.
Didn’t Moses question God’s commission at first? Even after Jehovah incredibly spoke from the burning bush? Even when the ‘I am’ revealed His name? God understood Moses’ weaknesses and so gave him a partner in Aaron. Together, they succeeded.
I, however, am truly alone and inadequate. Mum and Grandma help a bit, but there’s a lot in this job that is confidential. You know that.
In your letter, you told me to fan into flame the gift of God, which I was given when you laid hands on me that day (1). God knows I’ve tried. But subconsciously, it seems I’m doing everything possible to fight the flame. The ‘old me’ fights the flame while the ‘new me’ fans it. To think that the fire-fighting part of me might win makes my stomach churn.
It’s not like I deliberately set out to fight the flame. Honestly. But on any sort of personality quiz, I’m shown to be introverted, cautious, pessimistic, unwilling to embrace change. I’m not like you. God made me this way. Surely He has called me to be a hermit? Or maybe to establish a religious order where people hardly talk? You often remind me that God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love and self-discipline (2). Yet it’s impossible to be who I’m not.
I’m not afraid of hard work. You suggested I should consider the examples of disciplined soldiers, champion athletes and farmers. The Almighty knows that I’d happily live the focused disciplined life of any of them. In fact, I’d like nothing better than to obey a commanding officer instead of having to lead. Hard work is fine. But teaching? Confronting men older than myself? Guiding many difficult people? Making the most of every opportunity to loudly and proudly declare my faith?
You told me to ‘refrain from godless chatter’. That’s no problem. It’s the ‘godly speech’ that scares me. I can’t even get the words out straight anymore. I suppose Moses was like that too, now I think about it.
Uncle Paul, please reconsider. Your specific command frightens me so badly that simply thinking of the words makes me nauseous. Do remember what you said?
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word, be prepared in season and out of season, correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction. (3)
You must remember that stress causes my stomach to become inflamed. You were so kind to me when I was sick as a boy during your visits. You treated me so gently – so lovingly. Have pity on me now.
Here is the bottom line. The job is too big and I’m just not capable of it.
I’m a liability to the church and an embarrassment to my family. There are others who can do a better job - tell them to do it.
I beg you. Release me from this role.
As you requested, I’ll be there before the winter with your cloak and scrolls. But perhaps after receiving this letter, you won’t want to see me. If so, do send a messenger to intercept me en route and collect your belongings.
I guess you won’t want me calling you ‘Father’ anymore either. I quite understand.
Timothy, my dearest son,
Moses recognized who was behind ‘his’ fire, and obeyed. Like it or not, that same fire burns in you. Moses never found his calling easy, but he became one of the greatest leaders in history.
God’s call on your life is clear. Accept it.
You are a gentle sensitive man. I’m as sensitive as a bull. God calls you to live to YOUR full potential – not mine. Focus on Him, not yourself, nor your so-called inadequacies.
Quit fighting the fire. FAN THAT FLAME.
(1) 2 Timothy 1:6
(2) 2 Timothy 1:7 NIV
(3) 2 Timothy 3:1-2 NIV
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