Harry Houdini (born Erik Weisz in Budapest, later Ehrich Weiss or Harry Weiss; March 24, 1874 – October 31, 1926) was a Hungarian-American stunt performer, noted for his sensational escape acts. He first attracted notice as “Harry Handcuff Houdini” on a tour of Europe, where he challenged different police forces to try to keep him locked up. This revealed a talent for gimmickry and for audience involvement that characterised all his work. Soon he extended his repertoire to include chains, ropes slung from skyscrapers, straitjackets under water, and to holding his breath inside a sealed milk can.
There were two things that set Houdini apart, firstly KNOWLEDGE of what he knew to be true and secondly, ENTHUSIASM, the capacity to persevere in the face of great odds and to overcome the temptation to quit.
Enthusiasm is a passionate eagerness in any pursuit. Enthusiasm is a sign of responsible living, the sign that you are able to commit yourself fully to your actions.
Consider, if you were to commit yourself to living more enthusiastically, what would life look like, what would be different about your attitudes, what would be different in your relationships at home, at work, at church, with God?
Dale Carnegie once said,
“Today is life – the only life you are sure of, make the most of today. Get interested in something. Shake yourself awake. Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you. Live today with gusto.”
Dictionary.com describes Enthusiasm as,
1. Absorbing or controlling possession of the mind by any interest or pursuit; lively interest.
2. An occupation, activity, or pursuit in which such interest is shown.
3. Any various forms of extreme religious devotion, usually associated with intense emotionalism and a break with orthodoxy.
The Latin and Greek origins of enthusiasm suggest possession by a god or having a god within.
Synonyms – eagerness, warmth, fervour, zeal, ardour, passion, devotion
Antonyms – indifference
But what of enthusiasm for the follower of Jesus? Let me put to you that enthusiasm is characteristic of the Holy Spirit, the indwelling presence of God, the Father and Jesus, the Son.
The Apostle Paul writes in Colossians 1:26-27, “The mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known…the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
In John 4:13-14 Jesus responds to the question of a Samaritan woman, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Again in John 7:37-38 Jesus said, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
And again in John 10:10 Jesus states, “I have come that they may have may have life and have it to the full.”
The life that God has given through his Spirit is not static or indifferent rather it is dynamic, it seeks to well up and find expression through eagerness, warmth, fervour, zeal, ardour, passion and devotion.
Enthusiasm for the work of the Gospel is not of ourselves rather it is intrinsic to and arises from our relationship with the Living God. It expresses itself in a deep yearning for others to discover the fullness of a personal relationship with God.
This type of enthusiasm perseveres in the face of difficulty, overcomes the temptation to quit and is patiently purposeful in pursuing its goal.
The Apostle Peter writes in 2 Peter 2:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
Short of something to do, then read the words of Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”