Summary: Being in God’s "top 40" requires faith that takes action and makes a commitment.
Contrary to my children’s belief I was not a child of the 30s, 40s, 50s, or even 60’s. Granted I was born in the 60’s but I was too young to be part of that decade. I was a child of the 70’s and all those things that came with it. Bell bottoms and polyester pants, pet rocks, the Brady Bunch, gas wars and shortages, disco, Davy Jones, Watergate and feathered hair. AM radio was still in its heyday. In fact one of my favorite things to do on the weekends wasn’t to watch TV but to listen to the radio and Kasey Kasom with America’s Top 40. It was the original countdown to number one show. Kasey Kasom would amuse us with entertaining trivia as he played through each weeks top 40 songs. Hits like You Light Up My life, Alone Again Naturally, My Sharona and Le Freak..
Today everywhere you look on TV, Magazines, radio there are copy cats of Kasey Kasom’s Top Forty like People Magazines 50 Best, Worst and Least Dressed, Top 40 Pokemon Cards, 50 Best Commercials, Top 50 Beanie Babies, The Top Fortune 500 Companies, America’s 50 Most Beautiful People, The Top 40 Most eligible Bachelors, the Top 40 Radio Stations Online, AND The top Forty Bald Men in America - well alright maybe not the top forty bald men but you get the picture. Everybody wants to be in the top 40 or 50 something list. It is prestigious and desirable. It means you have arrived- you made it. Today’s media holds up these lists to us as examples of what we should be.
Even The Bible has a top 40+ list found here in Hebrews Chapter 11. It is a list of THE people of faith. God’s list of the most righteous. People like Abraham, Moses, Enoch, Noah, Joseph, Gideon,
Bar ak, Samson, Samuel, David and Elisha. An impressive list of the who’s who of faith. (Pause) An interesting list. At first glance one is stirred by the grandeur of the people listed and then, one begins to look more closely at the list, to look below the surface.
Abraham? - Wasn’t he the one who lied about Sarah being his wife, the one who so doubted God’s word about a future heir that God shut his mouth? And Moses didn’t he kill a man and then run like a chicken to hide. Didn’t he stutter and argue with God about God’s plan and will for his life? Gideon was pillar of strength he was hesitant and timid, Barak had to be shamed into action. Samson while he was a physical giant he a weak mind and conscience. David was a murderer and adulterer. The Hebrew people having scene the strength of God as He led them out of bondage and across the red sea and then dabbled in idolatry worship. This is a list of God’s best?
But it is a list of people who were imperfect, who questioned, doubted and argued with God. People who at one point or another didn’t do God’s will. People who when they tried to had become discouraged, down trodden, disappointed. People who had felt all alone, like they were the only ones really trying - who must have felt like giving up. How could God possibly have put these people on his top forty list?
I propose that it wasn’t their character, their perfection, their amazing feats that got them on the list but the fact that they had gumption. Yes that’s what I said GUMPTION! Now we don’t hear much about gumption any more. Charles Swindoll in his devotional The Finishing Touch says, It seems a shame that such a grand old word has dropped through the cracks.
Gumption is a characteristic trait that is so subtly woven into the fabric of ones life that few ever stop and identify it. Gumption enables a person to save money rather than spend every dime they make. It keeps person at the task at hand even when it might not be the most enjoyable task, like practicing piano or losing weight and keeping it off, working at job one doesn’t like or working on a project when it doesn’t seem to be making any difference.
Most folks get a little gumption in their initial toolbox for life at birth. It is a tool when neglected rusts quickly but when used grows and helps us endure even the greatest of disappointments, discouragement, and hard ships.
So do we have Gumption? Do we have what it takes to be on God’s Top 40 with Gumption list? Let’s examine Gumption a more closely.
I. Gumption first and foremost begins with a firm commitment
1. made up his mind long before he was dumped in Babylonia
2. got him through the lions den