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Enthusiasm is a powerful and infectious thing. Just watch a basketball game with a real fan and see if you don’t get excited. Watch a kid jumping on a bed for all she is worth, laughing and smiling the whole time. How can you avoid a smile even if you are worried that the bed might collapse?
Real enthusiasm is contagious; I watched it this week at our Vacation Bible School. From the youngest child, to the young adults, to the helpers and teachers, everyone was infected with enthusiasm. We were laughing and singing, shouting and praising the Lord. And that is what real enthusiasm should be about.
The word enthusiasm is made up to two Greek words that literally mean “in God” or “filled with God!” What a great picture. When we are enthusiastic in serving God, in praising him, in learning about him, we are literally in God, filled with him.
While enthusiasm can spread like fire, like fire it can also be quickly smothered. All it takes is a little inattention, a harsh remark, even a scornful look and that flame of fire can fade away. It is a sad thing when the ashes of disappointment take the place of the bright flame of hope.
God’s word tells us to “encourage one another and build each other up.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV) We need to encourage the flame of enthusiasm. We need to build on enthusiasm with sound Biblical teaching and solid life examples. We need to encourage not only the inward life of faith, but the outward, enthusiastic expression of faith.
So encourage one another this week. Encourage a child who has experienced the Lord for the first time in Bible school. Encourage your pastor, we could use a little enthusiasm ourselves sometimes!
Maybe, just maybe we could let down our guard a little and let the fire of enthusiasm infect us as well. Maybe we could sing those hymns with a little more heart, put a little more effort into our prayers, maybe we could even ask God to fill us with enthusiasm this week.
To contact columnist Jon Rohr, email email@example.com.