A two weeks ago I wrote an article on the word alacrity. I received many positive comments by you readers on the article. So, I thought to revisit the concept of alacrity again this week. You may recall alacrity means a brisk and cheerful readiness. Here is an example of alacrity in action.
The story is told of a king in Africa who had a close friend with whom he grew up. The friend had a habit of looking at every situation that ever occurred in his life (positive or negative) and remarking, “This is good!” One day the king and his friend were on a hunting expedition. The friend would load and prepare the guns for the king. The friend had apparently done something wrong in preparing one of the guns for after taking the gun from his friend, the king fired it and his thumb was blown off. Examining the situation, the friend remarked as usual, “This is good!” To which the king replied, “No this is not good!” and proceeded to send his friend to jail.
About a year later, the king was hunting in an area that he should have known to stay clear of. Cannibals captured him and took him to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake and bound him to the stake. As they came near to set the fire to the wood, they noticed that the king was missing a thumb. Being superstitious, they never ate anyone who was less than whole. Untying the king, they sent him on his way. As he returned home, the king was reminded of the event that had taken his thumb and felt remorse for the treatment of his friend.
He went immediately to the jail to speak with his friend. “You were right,” he said, “it was good that my thumb was blown off.” He proceeded to tell the friend all that had just happened. “So, I am sorry for sending you to jail for so long. It was wrong of me to do this.” “No,” his friend replied, “This is good!” “What do you mean, ‘this is good?’ How could it be good that I sent my friend to jail for a year?” To which his friend replied, “If I had not been in jail, I would have been with you!”
Like the king’s friend, maybe it’s time we rediscover being good finders rather than fault finders in those minor disturbances most of us have in our lives. Most of our difficulties are really first world problems. The problem with focusing on problems and faults is that is takes away our alacrity. We get jaded and angry. We give up hope. Our brisk and cheerful readiness, the starting point of going forward, dissipates into cynicism and we get stuck.
One example of alacrity in the Bible are the sons of Abinadab. They were known as the sons of a willing heart, enthusiastically rendering generous and noble deeds. The graceful verb nadab connotes “an uncompelled and free movement of the will unto divine service or sacrifice,” according to HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament.
Jesus has alacrity. Hebrews 12:2 notes, “for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” On the cross, Jesus endured shame, but He did not let it deter Him. What was “the joy that was set before Him”? To bring you and me – and millions and millions of others like us – to heaven. Whatever Jesus begins, He is going to complete.
Alacrity gives us an ascending attitude. It opens us to stewardship and servanthood with a cheerful, brisk willingness to go forward. Someone once said, “Stewardship is not one more thing we have to do, but a way of seeing everything we already do in a very different light.”
Our choice and God’s power can help us uncover whole new worlds of possibilities. Remember, it’s not what you think you are; it’s what you think, you are.
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