In Montana there is a rule: The man with the ice-worthy shoes must support the woman who wore the lovely black dress shoes with the ridiculously inappropriate slick soles.
Thus, as we walked into church a few days ago, my preacher husband slowed his pace and offered his steel-reinforced arm while I slipped and slid next to him in my vanity-driven instead of Montana-winter-driven choice of wardrobe.
Pretend with me, for a moment, that your enthusiasm is a pair of shoes. (Us women understand shoes.)
If your enthusiasm has slick-bottomed souls, you will most assuredly land on your bum and pull down anyone you can grab onto on your way down.
If your enthusiasm has practical soles, with spike-like grip, then you will walk tall and solid while others grab onto you and steady themselves.
Now picture this. Everyone around you has slick shoes. Your students wear slick shoes. Your children wear slick shoes. Your church congregation has slick shoes.
This is how it plays out: Your enthusiasm says to your precious little one, Let’s eat a piece of fruit for a snack. You know this is the wise choice that will make for a healthy child in the long run. But what does the child do? Look at him take one step toward that apple and slip and slide all over the place. He does not want to eat fruit. He wants chocolate milk and a stack of cookies. He wrinkles his nose and slumps his shoulders. He begs for cookies and milk.
And what about you? What about you, I say? Will you stand firm on the slippery ice of decision making, or will your child’s whining grab onto your arm and –splat –down you both go. Cookies it is!
Paul commends the Corinthians for their readiness to help their fellow brothers. He has used them as an example to spur the Macedonians to help out as well. He says to the Corinthian believers, “…your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action.” (2 Corinthians 9:2 NIV)
The enthusiasm of the Corinthian church has a grip that allows others to grab on and stand up.
I used to type orthopedic medical reports here in Montana, and every winter it was the same –injury after injury when the ice was bad. I know some older people who were afraid of falling, so they bought rubber attachments, with metal spikes, to put on the bottom of their shoes. Shod with those they could walk across a frozen lake with confidence.
How do we put spikes in our enthusiasm, so we become immovable and helpful to others instead of easily swayed and brought down to the ground with them?