The value of having strong enthusiasm

Published 6:05 pm Friday, November 28, 2014

There seems to be no shortage of things that produce immense enthusiasm in our grandchildren:  gymnastics, baton, softball and on the ever changing list goes.

Their commitment to the things that are of interest to them gives them the drive to ignore adverse weather conditions and other inconveniences in order to practice and participate.

Interestingly, the things that they are highly excited about today might be little more than a memory in a few days as they move on to the next thing.

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About a year ago, our oldest granddaughter got really excited about sewing.  Her mother bought her a small sewing machine and she quickly became fascinated with the art of simple stitching.  Although Mallory never produced any fine pieces of clothing, I was encouraged to see her interest and hoped that it would turn into a hobby that she could benefit from.  As it turned out, it was more like a bottle rocket than a lengthy flight.  That is, it was a short lived burst of energy.

Unfortunately, she lost interest in sewing about as swiftly as she had pursued it.  Now I rarely hear her say anything about it, let alone see her seeking to master the skills required to become a seamstress.  Thankfully there is always hope, so maybe she will eventually have her interest in sewing rekindled and excel at it.

I expect we have all had experiences in life in which we started a project with great zeal, only to see interest fizzle out over time.

It could be that we have experienced that kind of response in some of our spiritual endeavors.  If so, we might be able to identify with the words of Galatians 5:7:  “You were running a good race.  Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?” (New International Version).

One of the great projects recorded in the Old Testament is that of the rebuilding of the temple of the Lord after the original one had been destroyed by the Babylonians.  Ezra 3 speaks of the onset of that great task.  Initially there was enthusiasm among the people to complete the rebuilding of the temple.

That enthusiasm was short-lived, however, and 4:24 gives a glimpse of the sad result:  “Thus the work on the house of God in Jerusalem came to a standstill until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.”  The enthusiasm to build was crushed by accusations, frustration and discouragement that eventually brought progress to a halt.

Thankfully, in time, enthusiasm was rekindled, the work resumed and ultimately the project was completed:  “The temple was completed on the third day of the month of Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius” (6:15).

There are times when our emotions are stirred causing us to get excited about doing great things for God.

The challenge comes, however, when the emotional force subsides and the call for hard work begins.  At that point, the temptation to let enthusiasm die is tremendous.  But in order to please God, determination and devotion must be nurtured so that we remain committed to see through to completion whatever God has called us to be involved in.

Mallory’s enthusiasm about learning to sew motivated her to attempt tasks she had never done before.  As long as her interest was strong she was willing to spend lots of time practicing and learning.

Ask God to help you to remain enthusiastically devoted to fulfilling His call upon your life.