by David Sisler
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Every great and commanding movement in the annals of the world, owes its triumph to it. Nothing great has ever been accomplished without it.”
100 years ago, British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli said, “The production of genius must be the production of it.”
Emerson and Disraeli were both talking about enthusiasm.
The American College Dictionary defines enthusiasm as: “absorbing or controlling possession of the mind by any interest or pursuit; lively interest.”
With all due respect, let me give you two better definitions of enthusiasm.
Note: After the original column appeared, I received emails with additional definitions of enthusiasm.
Reverend Bill Lockhart said, “The 1828 Webster’s dictionary defined enthusiasm as a belief in special revelations of the Holy Spirit. Now, that’s enthusiasm. By 1936 that definition was changed to fanaticism. The word comes from the Greek and it literally means being God-inside minded.”
Dr. Joseph B. Kennedy, Sr. agrees: “Look up the etymology of the word enthusiasm. It is from the Greek entheos and means God in us. Now that is ENTHUSIASM!”
Joe had a pet turtle named Rocky. They were an odd couple, the four-year-old boy and the turtle. One day, Joe noticed that Rocky seemed to be a little sluggish. A veterinarian examined Rocky and said, “He has a disease common to turtles. It is a fatal illness. Rocky will be dead within two weeks.”
Joe was devastated. He sobbed as if his heart would break. He refused to eat any supper and cried himself to sleep. As each day passed, Joe became more and more depressed.
Finally Joe’s father said, “As soon as Rocky dies we are going to have a parade in his memory. We’ll invite all the kids in the neighborhood. We’ll have flags and banners and music. After the parade we’ll have a party. We’ll all eat cake and ice cream. It will be the biggest party you’ve ever seen.”
“Daddy,” Joe said, “let’s kill him!”
A few years ago Connie was in an automobile accident. As a result of her injuries she lived in constant pain. In order to find relief, she began taking more and more medicine. She convinced her doctor to prescribe increasingly stronger medication. Gradually she became addicted to the prescription pain relievers. When Connie’s doctor refused to give her more medicine, well-meaning friends had prescriptions filled for her.
Finally, unable to cope, Connie checked herself into a rehabilitation clinic. Before her five-week stay was concluded, her husband of 30 years, announced he was leaving her and filing for divorce.
Connie said, “There are days when the anxiety washes over me and I almost go under, but God’s hand lifts me back up and I brace myself for the next wave. The beautiful thing in all this is God’s strength and His wonderful peace. My favorite promise is ‘weeping comes in the night, but hold on, joy comes in the morning.’ I am looking forward to daybreak!”
That is enthusiasm!
It doesn’t matter what the sport, athletes universally speak of the home field advantage. They speak of their fans almost as if they were an extra player, giving them an unfair advantage against the competition.
When thousands of fans raise their voices together and urge their team on to victory, the players say something special happens. They feel re-energized. Their spirits are boosted. They perform at their highest level. Enthusiasm is contagious.
That attitude is found in the Bible:
“Since we have a huge crowd of spectators watching us from the grandstands, let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up; and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us.
“Keep your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. He despised the shame of the cross, but He endured it because of the joy that was set before Him.”
That is enthusiasm!
Everyone is enthusiastic about something. If your enthusiasm is centered in Jesus, you have an enthusiasm that will last. Both now and forever.
Copyright 2003 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.
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