I’ve always thought it strange that the word enthusiasm never appears in the scriptures. I know, some of you worry about my fixation with words. “Why should that bother anyone?” you ask. But it does bother me because the word enthusiasm comes from the Greek and originally meant a “state of being inspired by a god.” It is formed from the prefix en- which means “to put into or onto” and the root word theos which means “god.” So the word means “to put God into.” For awhile it was synonymous with the words revelation and inspiration. During the Puritan era it took on a derogatory meaning of “excessive religious emotion.” However, the word for quite awhile now has meant eagerness with no negative connotations attached to it.
But there is hope! The word may not be in the scriptures, but the concept is. The other day as I was reading along I encountered the phrase, “Turn to the Lord with all your mind, might, and strength” (Alma 39:13), and realized that is enthusiasm at its best. D&C 4:2 says that all who embark in the service of God should “serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.” Certainly if we serve God with all our heart, might, mind and strength, we are serving with enthusiasm—we are inspired by God. And when we are inspired by God, we are enthused because God is with us. What a great way to live! Enthusiastically!