Yesterday, I had lunch in a restaurant that was packed with people.  I noticed that at the beginning of the meal, the waitress was enthusiastic and happy to wait on us.  We were sitting on the outside porch overlooking the water.  In this area, people come and go as they please and their seating is not controlled by the hostess assigning tables.  Obviously, most of the patrons  wanted to be on the porch this warm sunny afternoon because her station soon filled to capacity and beyond.  As the people piled into the area, she became overwhelmed, the orders became more complicated and her thrilled excitement slowly seeped away. 

Those of us who had come onto the porch at the beginning of the mealtime were patient with her and happy to sit and wait for her to complete our orders.  The others who had arrived later in the afternoon had not caught her enthusiasm; and they were not nearly as patient about the extended wait they had to endure. 

For me this was a great example of the power of enthusiasm.  Within a more holy realm, I’ve seen worship leaders destroy an amazing session of praise and worship by scolding the worshipers trying to encourage them to sing louder or longer or better, raise their hands or lower their hands.  On the opposite side, when the worship leader is enthusiastic and excited about praising God, the people respond with increased joy and enthusiasm.

Within the mentally challenged community, enthusiasm is an essential element.  Whether you are driving a van, leading praise and worship, teaching or preaching, your members will catch your attitude and your joy.  They will also adopt your distrust and lack of contentment if you put it on display.  Often, before our executive director, Richard Stimson, brings correction of our membership, he will say, “You know I love you, don’t you?  I have to say this even though it makes me sad that it might hurt you.  I’m going to say this because I love you so much.”

After that introduction, our members are prepared for correction and they are encouraged that this problem does not affect Stimson’s love for them in any way.  Correction is always better covered with a heavy dose of sloppy, genuine love.

When doing anything, remember our attitude may be the key to a successful completion.  Our members deserve the best.  They are God’s wonderful folks who desire to learn and grow.  Your enthusiasm will help to stir within them a joy for learning and help them to grow into the people God planned for them to become.