The next time you pass through Kansas City, look for the church building that has a sign in the front lawn which reads, “Wake up, preach up, pray up, stay up, pay up, but never give up, or let up, or back up or shut up, till the cause of Christ in His church and in all the world be built up”. That’s the “E” word that is ENTHUSIASM!
The word ‘ENTHUSIASM‘ means “God in us“. It is that certain something that makes us great – pulls us out of the mediocre and commonplace and helps us think across the grain, that brings us great power. It has a glow about it that lights up our faces. We brighten a room by just walking into it. We have too many eagles sitting on humming bird nests. “If you’re going to run with the hounds, you got to get off the porch.”
The big “E” is a maker. It makes friends and smiles and produces confidence. It speaks to the passage that says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (II Timothy 1:7). It shouts,” I can do all things through Christ who is my strength” (Philippians 4:13). It tells all men that our job is a swell job – and the house we work for suits us just fine and the goods we bring are great and give genuine satisfaction. Enthusiasm is a walking, talking, living guarantee!
Enthusiasm (‘God in us‘) is the daily inspiration that makes us ‘wake up and live’. It is a beautiful spring in the deadbeat of winter, and the ever-present twinkle in our eye that lends assurance to ourselves and to our fellow man. Someone has said, “Upon the plains of hesitation lie the bleached bones of millions who, on the threshold of victory, sat down to wait, and in waiting, they died”. Enthusiasm gets up – mounts the attack – claims the victory and thanks God for it.
The Enthusiast does more than hope – he sees with his heart. He illustrates life in living it and his example is nothing but a revelation of success. Those in a car driving toward Padre Island causeway made a quick U-turn when they saw the sign of the toll charge. They drove away, not knowing that they were the one-millionth car to have made the trip. The prize was $50,000 dollars. Everyone at the gate wondered what had happened. The toll posted that turned them around was $1.00 and they decided they just couldn’t afford it. The next driver was Mrs. Phil Baker of Corpus Christi. She drove up, paid the toll and collected the prize and enjoyed the benefits. What can a dollar buy?
The big “E” creates the thrill in prospect. The teacher will find excitement within as she lives the illustration she prepares to give. This joy within is where it has to begin, and as the lesson is revealed, she will find herself longing for the part where her emotions will reach a high. She gets on the altar and simply burns for her students.
Enthusiasm is equally shared by the student, and from it they find motivating power on their own. “My teacher is human”, he declares, and soon finds himself hanging on each word. The joy of the teacher’s heart and the power of her enthusiasm are awesome. The teacher shortage is really an enthusiasm shortage.
Enthusiasm creates a thrill in prospect. The effect of enthusiasm will be remembered, long after the main event has occurred. It leads one to act on their own. The old Chinese proverbs says, “What you hear you forget, what you see you remember, what you do you understand”. It is the power that lasts, long after days and weeks and years are gone.. It becomes the way of thinking, the spark that lights the engine.
One of the finest prayers on record has come out of a little backwoods church in Red Rock, Mississippi from the lips of an African-American preacher. He said before the morning sermon, “O Laud, Give thy servant this morning the eyes of an eagle and the wisdom of an owl. Connect his soul with the gospel telephone in the central skies. ‘luminate his brow with the sun of Heaven, wizen his mind with the love for de people, turpentine his imagination, grease his lips with ‘possum oil, loosen his tongue with the sledge hammer of Thy power, ‘lectricy his brain wid de lightnin’ of de word, put ‘petual motion in his arms, fill him plum full of de dynamite of dy glory, anoint him all over wid de kerosene oil of dy salvation and sot him on fire, for it’s in the name of Jesus, Amen.
Enthusiasm will always keep you trying. If at first you don’t succeed – try enthusiasm, it never gives up. Babe Ruth stuck out 1333 times but we best remember him for the 714 home runs he hit. Cy Young, one of the greatest pitchers on record won 511 games. Who cared how many he lost. Albert Einstein was expelled from a school Munich, Germany when he was 15 old, failed his entrance examination at Zurich Polytech and was refused a situation as a mathematical assistant. Yet through it all he never quit –he kept trying. As Churchill once said, “NEVER GIVE UP“.
The little first grader fell and broke his arm. At the hospital they put it in a cast. The principal was taking him home and he saw the boy clutching something in his hand. “What do you have” inquired the principal. “A quarter”, was the simple reply. Where did you get it?” was the next query. “I found it on the playground today”, explained the boy. Then he smiled and with an exited voice, “You know, Mr. Chapman, I’ve never found a quarter before – THIS IS MY LUCKY DAY! Enthusiasm – Ah, you just can’t beat it.