"It is well. It is well with my soul!"
"It is well. It is well with my soul!"
LIVING WITH ENTHUSIASM
Let’s talk about enthusiasm today! We all know what it looks like and we all seem to want it, but where is it derived from? Why do some people have it and others don’t? Let’s start with a story about Adrian.
Every Monday I have blood drawn and tested. This week a bubbly young and petite nurse, named Adrian, came to get me. As we were walking down the hall, she was singing and dancing – bopping left and right. I would have done it with her, but as most people know, I have no rhythm. She was so enthusiastic that it was encouraging to me. I complimented her and told her that I loved her spirit. I asked her why she was singing and dancing? She told me that she does it for the patients because the patients have a lot going on and I get just a moment to encourage them. I was upbeat and she asked me why? I said, what do you mean? She said that most patients are down or dreading the day. After all, it was chemo Monday! I said, well, I’m not because Jesus loves me. I have cancer, and that doesn’t change anything about who I am. I asked her if she had ever been through a difficult time where she had to choose how she was going to respond? She said, “Yes, I am doing it right now, I lost my 14-year-old daughter one year ago; she just stopped breathing.” My heart sank. (conjecture: conversation leads me to believe she took her own life). I was stunned at her answer. Every ounce of compassion flowed through me and caused me to stand to hug her - and she gave back a two-arm bone crushing hug. I began to pray aloud over her. We stood for a few seconds in silence. She then briskly said, I need to draw your blood. As she drew my blood, we talked and we cried and we laughed and we cried some more! My heart was destroyed at that moment for this young mother. I asked her how she has worked through it. She said, “Like you, I get to choose how I respond. I choose to live with enthusiasm. I have great joy in knowing my daughter is in heaven and that she is healed.” We hugged again and she sang and danced me to the exit. Please pray for Adrian.
Adrian’s story leads us to the conclusion that “enthusiasm drives purpose”. As an example, every Monday, I start off with a little ditty to remind me of my purpose. The first part is what I do, the remainder is the why.
High ho, high ho, it's off to chemo I go;
God is rad and I'm so glad;
He uses man to complete His plan;
Give God the glory, so man will know His story;
High ho, high ho, high ho.
This little ditty gets me to focus on my treatment, yet it’s my purpose that matters more. While my purpose of being here is to get healed, it is not my primary purpose. Clearly, God has a greater calling than that! I believe, His purpose or calling is to increase my faith and increase the faith of all those who are walking with me on this journey. That includes, my wife, my children, my family, my friends, my co-workers, my prayer warriors, the doctors, the technicians, the people in the waiting area, the valet attendants … and if you are reading this … especially, YOU!
What good would it do to be healed and keep it to myself? None! There are thousands, if not millions, of patients that come through MD Anderson that get healed. It is a premier facility. The stories of how people have been healed here are unending. There is no question that God uses doctors and medicine to heal us. Everyone needs to know that and it is on us to tell them. My dear friend, Tim Pedersen, called me while I was riding back from KC, after spending some time with my daughter, and effectively, he told me that I was going to MD Anderson. He then followed up Monday morning to make sure I put in a referral request. When the word gets out that people are healed at MD Anderson, there is no way to keep it to yourself.
What good is it to have faith and keep it to myself? It would be useless! Matthew 28:18-20 clearly states our purpose. It is commonly referred to as the “Great Commission”. Commission is defined as, an instruction, command, or duty given to a person or group of people. So, who is that? It is every believer. It’s me and it’s you. In fact, these verses leave little doubt as to what we are supposed to do.
Matthew 28:18-20, “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”” Matthew 28:16-20 NIV
Jesus declares his authority! If you are like me, my first response might be something like this, “Are you talking to me?” He continues with “therefore”, as if the only logical response is to do what he says. He tells us to “go” and “make disciples”. How do we go? We go to work, we go to the grocery store, we go to school, we go to church, we go to our neighborhood HOA meeting – we go where ever our day takes us. Where we go is not our purpose, it is our opportunity. Your “go” may be exactly where you are right now. The second question is, how do we make disciples? A disciple is much more than a good student or a good learner. A true disciple is a follower. A follower adheres completely to the teachings of another. Discipleship requires a totally committed life. Sacrifice is expected. A disciple is someone who has placed their faith in Jesus. So, back to the question, how do we make disciples? It starts by being one and then our life will become a witness to others. What is your life witnessing today? Worldly things or things of Jesus? We are to be bold in our witness and we are to show those who don’t know Christ the way. The challenge for many is that they believe the sacrifice is just too great – but I would argue the cost is even greater.
Luke 14:33, “Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple”. Matthew 16:24, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me”. John 6:66, “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him”.
The word “enthusiasm” comes from the Greek word en theos. En is the Greek word for the English word “in.” Theos is the Greek word for “God.” So en theos means to be “in God.”
When you get in God, you will be enthusiastic. It’s the kind of enthusiasm that isn’t affected by the economy or the weather or your circumstances. It’s eternal because you are tied to the eternal God. You are in Christ. Rick Warren
Enthusiasm is derived from a relationship with Jesus. It’s that simple! You cannot get it from anywhere else. As you go and make disciples, I want you think about Colossians 3:23-24. Everything we do is an opportunity to live out our purpose. Put God first in all you do and your life will bring glory to Him.
“Whatever you do [whatever your task may be], work from the soul [that is, put in your very best effort], as [something done] for the Lord and not for men, knowing [with all certainty] that it is from the Lord [not from men] that you will receive the inheritance which is your [greatest] reward. It is the Lord Christ whom you [actually] serve.” COLOSSIANS 3:23-24 AMP
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