Our scripture this morning is 2 Timothy 1:6-10.

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. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy lifeā€”not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

Paul continues to encourage his friend Timothy (and us) to “fan into flame the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands” (v. 6). He doesn’t mean that he (Paul) gave Timothy the gift, merely that the laying on of hands is a symbolic act that reminds the recipient of God’s gift. Paul goes on to explain that this gift and our call are “not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace” (v. 9).

Do you remember a time that the body of Christ reached out to lay hands on you? We do this as a sign of love and acceptance. Perhaps it was a baptism or confirmation. Many churches use a laying on of hands for commissioning, healing and a variety of other purposes to remind us all that the Holy Spirit has been given to us to share with the world.

Paul continues with the fact that Jesus gave us this gift “before the beginning of time”, that we have always been chosen and called to live in Christ and for Him. Whether we have had hands laid on or any other human sign is significant as an act of faith and solidarity in the body of Christ, but not what provides the real meaning. God gave us this wonderful gift; we can only share it and testify to the joy it brings.

Loving Lord, You call us into connection with You and our brothers and sisters. Help us to use the wonderful things You have made in a way that honors You and serves Your children. Amen.

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