Covenant Group Study blog  

Focus Scripture: 2 Corinthians 8: 3 - 4

Time for more “word geek” fun (Yay!!!). According to Merriam-Webster.com, the origin of the word “enthusiasm” is from the Greek for “inspiration or possession by a god.” Okay - hold to that thought.

Now, in our full scripture today, “For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem.” 2 Corinthians 8: 3 – 4, NLT. The Greek word that the NLT translates as “but far more” is pronounced “Hoop-er” … we translate it to Hyper. The King James Version translates this portion as “beyond their power.”

Alright, now – back to enthusiasm. The Greeks had a pantheon of gods (see Acts 17: 16 – 31). Merriam-Webster.com’s first translation of “Enthusiasm” is “a) belief in special revelations of the Holy Spirit and b) religious fanaticism.” I kind of bristled at “religious fanaticism”, but as I consider how it is applied; I understood its truth.

As you read our “Other Scriptures” for this week, you will see that there is good enthusiasm and there is a bad type of enthusiasm. Remember that the literal Greek is “inspiration or possession by a god.” Lower case “G”. It does not indicate the One God, Author of Creation; it indicates a god.

I have heard this put a couple of different ways. Probably about seven years ago, I heard a broadcast by Andy Stanley where he was speaking to (mainly) college age students. He talked about Appetite. What do you hunger for, what do you thirst for? Our appetite is not just about the stomach.

 In the Book of Exodus, God says to the Israelites within the Ten Commandments, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Do we have idols? What are our ideals? What is our Priority?

It’s ironic (funny in the non-‘ha-ha’ way) that once upon a time a child that we would now say has ADHD was hyper. In that context, it indicated a lack of ability to focus. Yet, our scripture today talks about hyper in a manner that would be God-breathed. In many ways, this takes us back to 2 Corinthians 5: 13 – 14. (Go ahead, look it up; I'll wait.)

Do we, as brothers and sisters in Christ, occasionally do things that make no sense to anyone else? Hopefully, I pray, that what we are doing is for God’s glory. Have we dispensed with all of our idols? Is God what you hunger and thirst for? Is God where you find your ideals? Is it through our Risen Savior that you set your priorities? Have you sought His discernment?

If we had the courage to show our enthusiasm for Christ Jesus and follow Him where ever He would lead us; 1) what do you think that would look like? 2) Where do you think you would be?

Amen.

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