I was reading in 2 Timothy today and Good dropped a massive, obvious hint in my lap. I was sure it was just the translation so I grabbed the Bible I used in high school and sure enough, it was there like a bright diner sign blinking and glowing in my face. Clearly not just the translation, but God trying to get my attention.
A bit of background- Timothy was a young leader for Christ, and most likely got a lot of judgement passed on him as a pastor and leader because of his age. For anyone who grew up in a Christian church, you probably felt judged a time or two or shamed even by older members of the congregation you attended. In chapter four verse twelve Timothy is encourages to set an example so that the elders would have no reason to look down on him. He was encouraged to earn their respect. A little bit later in the same chapter is my huge realization.
1 Timothy 4: 14
HCSB: Do not neglect the gift that is in you; it was given to you through prophecy, with the laying on of hands by the council of others.
NIV: Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
Do not neglect your gifts. God gave us gifts and talents. He did that with a purpose! Both translations I had on hand told me to not neglect the gifts God gave me. Neglect to me in this context is ignoring something or leaving it hidden in a closet. I have God given abilities that I just don’t see a need in using. Wake up: who do you think you are doubting the gifts God gave you? He gave those to you and not someone else for a reason. Neglect can also mean being careless. Use your gifts wisely and as God wants you to.
My mom prayed for a second child. People prayed for her during her pregnancy- her pregnancy with me. There were issues with my birth- people who hadn’t even met me were praying. Growing up people prayed for me; as I got older they prayed with me. People prayed for me to be healthy, follow God, find my calling in life, for my protection when I did CEF and mission trips through youth group. When I walked away from God for a few years, people prayed for me. Timothy had people praying for him before he was born, throughout his whole life. His life and his example was prophesized! He repaid them by allowing God to use him to fulfill the prophecy. Timothy thanked all the people who prayed for him before and during his life by using his gifts and talents.
I look back on my life and think that I have not done a great job expressing my gratitude for all the people who prayed for me my whole life. I have fallen, I have made a mess of my life time and time again. I have been a lousy example for young adult believers. I’ve locked many of my God-given abilities in a Dana-sized closet saying “I don’t really need to use these- using them will make me vulnerable.” I have been so selfish trying to hide because I am simply afraid to trust God and be vulnerable.
No more. I am done neglecting my gifts. I am done not being grateful for the work done in my life in part because of the prayers of others. I am living or Christ. That’s the whole point of this blog for me- I am listening to God’s call. I am being vulnerable. I am being grateful. I would not be the woman I am today without hard times. I would not be the woman I am today without the prayers of others. If not for the price of the cross, I would not have the gifts to be the woman God is calling me to be tomorrow.
If you do not feel this way, if you examine your heart and your life and say I am not neglecting the gifts God gave me, there is still something you can do. Pray. Pray for the lost who do not know God. Pray for the young believers to not ignore what God gave them. Pray for the prodigals to find a new healing love and grow a new faith in Christ. Pray for the church elders to encourage the young believers and to still lead an example.
Prayer is said to be the most effective, powerful weapon we have. Prayer is how we talk to God. Prayer is a gift too- use it!