Summary: To remind followers of Christ of the important role that enthusiasm plays in their witness.
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Former Secretary of Defense, Melvin Laird, has called the Polaris Submarine a “priceless asset” in the Cuban Missile Crisis. The man responsible for the development of the Polaris was Rear Admiral William Raborn, Jr. He carefully recruited his top management personnel. When they came on the job he would give them and their families a patriotic pep talk on the importance of their assignments. On those occasions when it appeared that someone was not doing his best, he would call him into his office for what he termed, “rededication.” One officer, recalling one of those emotional sessions, said, “When I walked out, I knew I was ready to die for someone. I didn’t know whether it was for the admiral, the president, my mother, or the head of the Boy Scouts, but brother, I was ready to die if necessary!”
Now that’s what I call enthusiasm! Enthusiasm has been defined as “energy that boils over and runs down the side of the pot.”
One of the exciting characteristics of the New Testament Church was that they really enjoyed what they were doing and did it with fervor. But just in case they needed reminding, Paul exhorts them here in Romans 9:11 to never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor.
This is what I call “Godly enthusiasm.” As a matter of fact, the word enthusiasm comes from two Greek words, en (in) and thous (God). One who is enthusiastic is “in God.”
ENTHUSIASM IS A FRAGILE THING. It can be destroyed very easily. In his book, Spirit of St. Louis, Charles Lindbergh recounts the trip home from his solo trans-Atlantic flight. After several days on board ship, he went up on the bridge during a severe storm. He watched it for a while and then said, “I didn’t know the sea was so big. I didn’t know it was so vast. If anyone had told me I wouldn’t have tried it.”
Vince Lombardi: “If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.”
ENTHUSIASM, that certain something that makes us great—that pulls us out of the mediocre and commonplace—that builds into us power. It glows and shines—it lights up our faces—
ENTHUSIASM, the keynote that makes us sing and makes men sing with us.
ENTHUSIASM—the maker of friends—the maker of smiles—the producer of confidence. It cries to the world, “I’ve got what it takes.”
ENTHUSIASM—the inspiration that makes us “wake up and live.” It puts spring in our step—spring in our hearts—a twinkle in our eyes and gives us confidence in ourselves and our fellow men.
ENTHUSIASM—it changes a dead pan salesman to a producer—a pessimist to an optimist—a loafer to a go-getter.
ENTHUSIASM—If we have it, we should thank God for it. If we don’t have it, then we should get down on our knees and pray for it.
EVERY PERSON GETS EXCITED AT TIMES…some for 30 minutes, some for 30 days, and some perpetually. Enthusiasm immediately captures the attention of others. Why? Because it glows. It radiates. It shines. It permeates.
Did you hear about the man who was trying to raise some money for a worthy cause and he said, “Enthusiasm is the yeast that raises the dough.”
Of course, enthusiasm must be under the control of the Holy Spirit. Otherwise it will be known as “wildfire.” Like the fellow who was zealous for his faith, but his enthusiasm was misdirected. He was a barber and one day he had a man in his chair to get a shave. The barber had him all lathered up and as he began to shave him with his straight razor, he said, “Are you prepared to meet God?” The man jumped out of the chair and ran out of the shop!
I was impressed several years ago when I read that Eugene Ormandy, the famous conductor, dislocated a shoulder while directing the Philadelphia Orchestra. I do not know what they were playing, but he was giving all of himself to it! And I have asked myself sadly, ‘Did I ever dislocate anything, even a necktie?”
Of all the people on the face of the earth, Christians ought to be the most enthusiastic. Why? Well, consider the blessings of God:
Eternal life through His Son
The Holy Spirit living within us
The Bible, God’s love letter
Adopted into His forever family
Answered many of our prayers
Protected us from harm
Provided our basic needs