I like to be around people who are enthusiastic. It's my role to minister to everybody, positive people, negative people, happy people, sad people. It's what God has called me to do.
I take up the task with relish, knowing that God has called me.
However, it's different story when it comes to people I like to hang out with. On my free time.
Again, enthusiastic people are those whom I like to be with. Enthusiasm is contagious. It is one element that can make or break not only our individual lives but the life of a corporation, company or church.
Max Lucado writes, "I discovered the importance of healthy counsel in a half-Ironman triathlon. After the 1.2 mile swim and the 56 mile bike ride, I didn't have much energy left for the 13.1 mile run. Neither did the fellow jogging next to me. I asked him how he was doing and soon regretted posing the question.
"This stinks. This race is the dumbest decision I've ever made." He had more complaints than a taxpayer at the IRS. My response to him? "Goodbye." I know if I listened too long, I'd start agreeing with him.
I caught up with a 66-year-old grandmother. Her tone was just the opposite. "You'll finish this," she encouraged. "It's hot, but at least it's not raining. One step at a time…don't forget to hydrate…stay in there." I ran next to her until my heart was lifted and my legs were aching. I finally had to slow down. "No problem." She waved and kept going."
I ask you, which person would you rather hang around?
I was reading today of FedEx CEO and founder Fred Smith who first developed the idea for an innovative air-freight company while he was a student at Yale University.
His professor was less than impressed; the paper Smith submitted outlining the concept earned him a "C". Thirty years later, FedEx is the world's largest express transportation company, with 128,000 employees and more than $7 billion in capital.
This short-sighted professor didn't take a few things into consideration.
One was Smith's persistence—he simply refused to give up. Another was his resourcefulness — when plan 'A' doesn't work, there is always a plan 'B' to put in motion.
Most important, however, was Smith's ability to recruit others to his vision. People want to be part of what he is involved in—even to the point of sacrifice. In the early days, for example, his pilots often refueled company jets with their own money. Sometimes they sat on paychecks for months to help keep the company afloat.
How does he do it? How does he command such devotion from his employees?
As I read today, and as I suggest to you, Fred Smith's greatest asset is his enthusiastic determination to get the job done. It sounds like a cliché, but he believes in what he is doing. As a result, he inspires loyalty.
The Christians in Philippi offered Paul this same kind of loyalty. They supported him through prayer, hard work, and sacrificial giving. Why? Maybe they were inspired by the enthusiasm they observed in Paul when their church was first founded.
You remember the story: After being beaten in the town square, Paul and Silas were thrown in jail. They were singing hymns late into the night when an earthquake came and shook the foundations of their jail cell, freeing them from their chains.
Paul could have escaped. He could have left Philippi and never come back, but instead he stayed, and took the opportunity to lead the jailer to Christ.
Paul believed in what he was doing, and his enthusiastic determination to spread the gospel encouraged the Philippian believers. [Acts 16]
Your enthusiasm has a profound effect on others.
When you approach anything with an upbeat commitment to get the job done, people begin to take notice. When they see that you believe in what you are doing, they become willing to join in the process.
The secret, then, is to pour your life into something that captures your heart, and give it all you've got.
Solomon said, "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might." (Ecclesiastes 9:10)
You will find that your zeal is contagious, and it will spread to the people around you.
This week, why not pray about coming to our Sunday morning worship service, full of sincere enthusiasm for what God is doing?
Let the Spirit of God light your fire once again. Be grateful, not for what you don't have but for what you do have - which is the presence of God - and life itself.
Just some thoughts.....