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.
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.
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.)
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…
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.”
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?