Infused with Alacrity

Have you ever been annoyed by someone’s enthusiasm? When someone consistently lacks authenticity and instead exists wrought with emotion & absent of action, do they grate on your nerves? When a person seems full of inflated enthusiasm that flares quickly and fades even more quickly, do you find yourself rolling your eyes in frustration at having to again waste your time?

Perhaps you’ve been that person who has episode after episode of enthusiasm that quickly waxes and wanes, and you wonder what’s keeping you from finally following through… just once.

Perhaps the key involves alacrity.

Alacrity 1

What is Alacrity?

Alacrity involves having a cheerful readiness, promptness or willingness as well as having a liveliness and briskness to what you do. Synonyms for alacrity include eagerness, keenness, fervor, zeal, sprightliness & agility.

The Latin origin of alacrity — alacritus — combines “lively” and “tasty” and gives the idea of an enthusiasm that “tastes good” to the point of craving more.

We’ve all experienced this type of enthusiasm — the type resulting in action with far-reaching impact. This type of enthusiasm is followed by well-thought-out planning built on garnered wisdom carefully crafted into an exciting vision. That’s enthusiasm infused with alacrity.

Regardless of whether you struggle living out your enthusiasm with significant, meaningful action, or if you simply want to take your enthusiasm to another level, focusing on alacrity might be the key.

Alacrity 2

Boaz & Alacrity

While studying the book of Ruth, I came across the term alacrity in an unexpected place. Easton’s Bible Dictionary gives the name Boaz the meaning “alacrity.”

In other references, the name Boaz is defined with the words swift, strong, powerful, mighty, fierce, safety, protection and quick. All of these sort of skim the edges of the meaning of alacrity, but they don’t explain how the word fits with the man Boaz in the story of Ruth.

So I reread the book of Ruth with the idea of alacrity in mind, and the term came alive in a way that stuck… a way that is helping me infuse my enthusiasm with alacrity.

(Note: If you don’t know much about the book of Ruth, I encourage you to read through its four short chapters now with the idea of alacrity in mind.)

Alacrity 3

Infused with Alacrity

Alacrity comes alive in Boaz’s example. Based on this example, let’s look at how alacrity can be infused into a person’s enthusiasm and become carried out through that person’s attitude, actions and words.

Alacrity becomes infused in a person’s character when they…

  1. Look out for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4) Boaz made sure Ruth – and by extension Naomi – were taken care of in a right and proper way. Alacrity showed through in his willingness to help others.
  2. Are motivated by compassion. (Colossians 3:12) At first, Boaz’s motivation came simply when heard how Ruth took care of her mother-in-law. Alacrity showed through in his eagerness to help another person.
  3. Fulfill responsibilities. (Galatians 6:4-5) Once Boaz discovered his responsibilities as “kinsman redeemer,” he moved into action to immediately and fulfill them. Alacrity showed through in his readiness to meet requirements.
  4. Live deserving of esteem. (1 John 3:18) This doesn’t mean seeking respect; instead, it involves living worthy of respect from others. Alacrity showed through in Boaz’s agility, or natural willingness to live with godly character.
  5. Go above and beyond. (Colossians 3:17, 23-24) Boaz took initiative. He made the decision to act & then went well beyond expectation & obligation. Alacrity showed through in an enthusiasm that “tasted good.”

Alacrity 4

Alacrity Challenge

Does your attitude exude enthusiasm in a way that equips others?

Does it result in effective and complete action with long-term impact?

Do you live a life of integrity and effectiveness in a way that goes beyond the minimum required of you?

Do you use the opportunities before you and the gifts, talents and abilities God gives you to make a difference in the lives of others?

If not, what can you do differently to infuse alacrity into your enthusiasm?

Study it out: Read the book of Ruth. What other ways can you see alacrity come through in Boaz’s attitude, actions and words?

26 thoughts on “Infused with Alacrity

  1. Kari,
    A good reminder. Our attitude affects so many around us. We can lift them up or we can contribute to bringing them down. I know it is hard to be enthusiastic when life is beating on you; when you wonder how you will make it through the day. To do those things you mentioned 1 through 5 and to do them with enthusiasm affects people. We can turn peoples days around or at least make them better and who knows they in turn may make someone else's day better. The impact can be far reaching if we choose how we are going to go about our days. It helps to have this attitude if we realize how blessed we are; how God has our back, and how He takes care of us.

    • Great application, Mark. It also speaks to why we need each others. When one person is weak, another can come behind with alacrity and help carry them through. I am also motivated through a tough time when I think about my impact on others. I aim to improve my attitude, so I don't bring others around me down.

  2. May we mediate upon the concept of ALACRITY and the example of Boaz. He knew what was right and proper to do and he enthusiastically pursued doing it. God asks us to enthusiastically and genuinely pursue what is right and good in His eyes. Like Jesus said, "I seek to do the Father's will!" and he did so passionately. Love this post… GOod job Kari

    • Your comment struck another thought… Boaz likely became successful in large part due to his attitude of alacrity. God blessed him for his attitude and through him gives us an example to follow. Thanks, Coach.

  3. I truly want to be a positive influence so I hope my attitude is one of alacrity. I hope I infuse people with a desire to live life and enjoy it. Thanks Kari for the word study today.
    My recent post Shock

    • If it's your hope, it's likely a focus for you. If it's a focus for you, it's likely a big part of your reality. I don't doubt at all that you are an example of alacrity, Bill.

  4. You've enhanced my vocabulary today…though I'm not sure I'm pronouncing the word correctly.

    I love how studying the root meaning of a word in the Bible can enhance and even change the meaning of a passage. It really brings the Bible to life and helps us apply it in new ways. I love my Strong's Concordance.
    Thanks so much for sharing this.

    • One of my favorite ways to study Scripture is reading about not just the root word but looking at the definitions in the dictionary (dictionary.com is the most-used app on my phone). I'm always amazed at how reading all of the definitions instead of the first one or the one most familiar to us can enhance my understanding of a word. Oh, and to help with pronunciation, dictionary.com has an audio of each word too :-0

  5. Ok, so I'm glad you defined alacrity in your post, haha. I was getting ready to look for my dictionary.
    Alacrity, it seems, is just an outflow of true love for our neighbor. Not mere sentimental affection, but real action-inspiring love. What a great conviction for us. It seems that we let busyness and stress insulate us often, isolating us from the needs of others. Time for some alacrity!
    My recent post Thursday Time Tip: Avoiding the Dangers of Our Own High Standards

    • You hit on the essence of alacrity. It combines all of what out truly means for us to love others as Christ loves us. And we need to fight against living separated lives in order to live alacrity.

  6. Great word I wasn't familiar with, but I can certainly see it in the life of Boaz. I want to grow deeper as a person of alacrity! I know people like this and try to be this. I'm not a fan of feigned enthusiasm (or feigned anything for that matter). I want to be real. Good stuff, Kari. Thank you!
    My recent post Back with BIG News

  7. Oh my. I have never heard of this word, but it's really rich in meaning. I think I know a couple of people who demonstrate this characteristic — and now I have an accurate word description for them!

    • What\’s cool to me is that I see it in people regardless of their personality. I know both quiet and outgoing people who are infused with alacrity. It can be seen in some really cool ways. Have fun spotting it!

  8. Hi Kari! I am coming over from TC's blog.
    I have heard of this word, but what a fun discovery that the name 'Boaz' means alacrity!
    My word for this year is 'joy', and what is joy without cheerful readiness? I think I'm going to keep that in mind as I travel this year. I have to make my joy come alive!

    You have some very good challenging questions about living that way too. Great thought producers!
    Nice to meet you today 🙂
    Ceil

    • Thanks for visiting, and nice to meet you too! Alacrity and joy do go together well; in fact, the enhance each other. Joy becomes evident as we live it out through alacrity. Great connection! Look forward to hearing from you again soon.

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