Sunday, August 14, 2016

Pave the way

"This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:6,7

Jemima Sumgong, of Kenya, won the women's Rio Olympic marathon yesterday in 2:24:04 with American runners Shalane Flanagan, Desiree Linden and Amy Cragg finishing sixth, seventh and ninth in the 26.2 mile race. But do you realize that this may never have happened if one female hadn't paved the way? You see thirty two years ago (on August 5, 1984), when marathon running was still considered a "man's sport", Joan Benoit Samuelson won the first ever women's Olympic Marathon. While there's no doubt that God blessed her with an ability to run, she had to overcome her fear of what others thought about her first before competing. Samuelson said, "When I first started running, I was so embarrassed I'd walk when cars passed me. I'd pretend I was looking at the flowers." She explained that girls didn't run in public then.

Not only did Joan pave the way for women runners around the world to participate in a sport not fitting for girls, she served as a role model for thousands of young female runners everywhere. Had she given into her fears or the opposition she was facing though, she never would have fulfilled the purpose God had gifted her for-she may have been just another girl staring at the daisies. In his letter to young Timothy who was also facing opposition, but to his message and his leadership, Paul wrote, "This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you.. For God has not given us a spirit of fear.."

Paul was reminding Timothy that God's power was much greater than his fears and so he should not be intimidated by any person or thing that stood in opposition to him using his gift to fulfill the purpose for which Timothy was created. That reminder is certainly good for all of us isn't it? So whatever talent God has gifted you with, may you be unafraid to fan it into flames and pave the way for others to do so too. 

Heavenly Father, thank you for giving each of us special gifts. May we not fear any opposition or embarrassment to using those gifts to lead others to You or to bring glory to your Name. Help us to identify our special talent, Lord, and then to do it to the best of our ability that we might tell others that you are the Giver of it. It's in your precious name we pray, Jesus. Amen.

Happy Running!!!

Consuming fire - Hillsong