Monday, April 16, 2012

Enthusiasm for God's gift of life

"...I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God..." (2 Timothy 1:6); "...Your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action" (2 Corinthians 9:2c).

"Every great and commanding movement in the annals of the world is the triumph of enthusiasm. Nothing great was ever achieved without it" (Ralph Waldo Emerson). An unknown old timer discerned that "It is when the coals are not only kindled, but put together, that the fire burns clear and bright, and gives forth its genial warmth."

Enthusiasm is the right combination of love, faith, hope, endurance, imagination, initiative and people. It forges through the obstacles of opposition, prejudice, inaction and indifference symptoms of fear and laziness in thought, word and deed to come up with more realistic and idealistic concepts.

An interesting illustration of fervor in the Bible is Mark 11:8: "Many spread their cloaks on the road..." The crowd was excited when Jesus entered Jerusalem. In their enthusiasm they shouted "Hosanna!" and some spread their cloaks and some spread branches. It was a joyous occasion and the mostly poor but spirited crowd honored Jesus. But lo! we find the crowd shouting just as vociferously and passionately only a few days later, "Crucify him!" (Mark 15:13). What a terrible dichotomy! "Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing" (James 3:10). John Wesley tried to convince his sister that the voice of the people is the voice of God. His sister finally quietly said to him, "Yes, it cried, `Crucify Him, crucify Him.'"

It is either love or hate that gives the spark to enthusiasm; we have either divine or base motives for what we do. We can put our car into neutral but not our heart, for it is from the heart that the issues of life, good and bad, are pursued and decided. "My heart is stirred by a noble theme..." (Psalm 45:1). Hearts can be stirred by ignoble themes, too. The professing Christian will discover the good sparks in God's holy and precious Word.

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