How To Keep Your Passion for Ministry Burning
The Apostle Paul adopted some young men into his leadership team, and he treated them as his own children. One of these young men was Timothy. It is hard for us to grasp the bond shared between the older apostle and his young protégé. Scripture doesn’t fill in all the relational information, but one notable absence gives us a little bit of the story: Timothy’s actual father was not in the picture. What a joy it must have been for this young apprentice to have a relationship with Paul that transcended a professional connection or a practical arrangement – this was family! This was father and son.
The Toll Of Leadership
We know that Timothy struggled physically, emotionally and spiritually with the demands of leadership. I think we all get it. Whether we lead in ministry, in the workplace, in our home or even in self-leadership, it is tough, it is lonely, and it is relentless. In 2 Timothy 1:6, it says, “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.”
Whether we lead in ministry, in the workplace, in our home or even in self-leadership, it is tough, it is lonely, and it is relentless.
We are getting a behind-the-scenes glimpse of a father motivating a son to be all that he can be. This verse should be read with our hearts attuned to the emotion of this moment. Picture yourself in a locker room at a football game or in the team huddle before taking the ice. This is a locker room moment akin to any of those great sports movie turnaround moments.
Keep The Fire Burning
Paul uses the illustration of a fire – one that is lit, but barely, like a summer campfire the next morning. Some of the wood has a glow. It just needs a little work, and it will be a raging fire again. Rekindling a fire the next morning is challenging but possibly brings more joy than building it the first time around. There is something about seeing those embers coming back to life, of seeing something that was down and out making a surge towards new life. Paul says to Timothy, it is time to stoke the fires of your heart again. Pastor Paul knows from his own journey the toll of the calling. It is the fire that burns in your soul that is at the biggest risk of being compromised and crushed by the realities of gospel work.
Unless you have a fire in your belly, then following Jesus is going to be a fleeting effort. Our internal spiritual temperature will grow cold. This is a moment of reflection for the young pastor. He is being asked by his spiritual father and mentor, Timothy where is your heart? Is there still a love for Jesus in there, like there once was? Paul is saying: I’ve seen passionate faith in you. It’s time to let the fire burn again.
This is a good word for us, brothers, in our busy modern lives, as we navigate all the moving parts of our callings and as we take hits along the way. For many of us, the fire is burning out. If not us, we all know a brother who has been left behind and whose heart has gone cold.
Let’s take some time to remember when we were passionate for Christ. Remember when he had captured our affections, and the good news about Jesus was everything to us? When the fire in our belly raged, and our hearts were set on Jesus Christ?
Let’s ask God to help us rediscover a passionate faith.