The Enthusiasm Project

    Little Jamie Scott wanted more than anything to be in the school play. When he tried out for a part, his mother worried he wouldn’t be chosen. On the day the parts were awarded, she waited anxiously outside the school. Jamie came running down the steps to her. “Guess what, Mom,” he shouted. “I’ve been chosen to clap and cheer!”

Guess what, folks. On the stage of life, the Director has chosen us to clap and cheer. “Why me?” one may think. “There’s a world of hurt out there. Who am I to clap and cheer anyone on? It probably wouldn’t do any good, anyway.”

Oh dear, sad Eeyore. It’s a God thing.

Suppose we embark on a simple language lesson. If you want to delve any further, go for it!  Before doing the research, I had no idea the word enthusiasm has such a controversial and confusing etymology. The ancient Greek word for enthusiasm is enqousiasmos. It’s defined “as a person inspired or possessed by the presence of a god.”  

In the 16th and 17th centuries, some Protestant sects were called enthusiasts. The term had such a negative connotation that it was seen as the cause of the English Civil War. During the 18th century, John Wesley and others were accused of blind enthusiasm. They defended themselves by distinguishing fanaticism from “religion of the heart.”

In his sermon, The Nature of EnthusiasmJohn Wesley criticized the word to a great extent. However, he did say it could be taken in a good sense. He spoke of the Prophets of old and the Apostles as “proper enthusiasts.”  He described them as being so filled with the Spirit, and so influenced by Him who dwelt in their hearts, that their reason was driven by the power of God.     (information from the English – Greek Dictionary at The University of Chicago Library)

Suppose we adopt Wesley’s description of “proper enthusiasts” as our understanding of the word. To gain more insight, let’s consider the French and English definitions.  

True to the French persona, their word for enthusiasm is Ềlan, meaning “vigor, spirit, style and flair.”

What about good ole English? Webster defines enthusiasm as “intense feeling for a subject or a cause; eagerness; zeal; something inspiring.”

Read the definitions again. Now, imagine with me what life would be like in a world with no enthusiasm. I see hopelessness, drudgery, and weariness. There would be no energy, panache, or creativity. And think of all the gloomy, apathetic people, including us!

Take heart. In John 10:10, Jesus says He came that we “may have life and have it to the full.”  The life God offers involves more than survival in the trenches. As the French might say, it offers a way to climb out with style.

 Oswald Chambers says, the cross “is the gate through which any and every indivdual can enter into oneness with God.”  Have you received God’s gift of eternal life? (John 3:16)  If you have, you’re a candidate for the abundant life, as well.

Does the presence of God within you drive you to live in the power of His Spirit?  Are you eager to pursue God’s will? Are you inspired by God to share with others the gift of life? If so, you’re a person with lots of ѐlan.

However if you’re low on enthusiasm, I’ve written this acrostic to give you a boost.

Enjoy life; it’s too short to waste.

Never give in to the grinch who steals your joy.

Tune your ear to God’s song; tune out the static.

Harness your fears in order to harvest the fruit.

Unchain the worries that bind you.

Search for the flickers of sunlight embedded in every cloud.

Introduce your face to the smile in your heart.

Allow God’s Spirit to infuse your being and His Word to flood your soul.

Spread the jam of joy on the Bread of Life; then share it with love.

Magnify the moment; then send up a flare. It’s God time!                          


Note: Check out the Crumbs post for an introduction to our son-in-law and a special prayer request.  Thanks!                                                                                                                       

3 Responses to “The Enthusiasm Project”
  1. Sandy Aasen says:

    Thanks Liz. Your acrostic is just what I needed today. I Love you, Sister.

  2. Mary Beth Welsh says:

    Thanks for the reminder. If the presence of Christ is not only in us but all over us then how can we not be enthusiastic? Sometimes I think we have to chose not to be Eeyore and choose to enthusiastic. I love you and great morning with you!!!Mary Beth

  3. Carolyn says:

    Love your acrostic of enthusiasm!

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