I remember when I was a kid, the older folks I would hang around, i.e. grandparents, would occasionally use a word you hardly hear any more- gumption. Do you use that word? Few do.
Gumption has become an archane word. It is an old Scottish word that 19th century American pioneers used often. If you have gumption, you do not sit around stewing about stuff or sit on your backside--you get moving and try to get something positive done.
You have “get up and go,” which is another old term. Sometimes, I feel like not only the word is out of style but the active use of it in practice. There are a lot of complainers and hand wringers out there any more. To have gumption is like having gasoline to start your engine.
Anymore, quitting seems to be more in vogue than finishing. We quit on people, we quit on ourselves, we quit on positive things that would help us, we quit on jobs or school or teams or just about anything because we do not have enough gumption to see things through.
To have gumption is to get the job done. It allows us to save money and people rather than spend every dime we make or throw up our hands because people aggravate us. It applies to everything, like a Bible reading program or daily devotions, or losing weight; or learning a musical instrument.
To have gumption and to keep it means that you need a firm commitment. In Daniel 1:8, it says simply this: “Daniel made up his mind.”
In other words he had gumption. He had been dumped in a Babylonian cesspool but he persevered.
In Joshua 24:15 it tells us that Joshua said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” In Isaiah 50:7. it says Isaiah set his face, “like flint.” Gumption requires starting and FINISHING.
Secondly, gumption requires being disciplined one day at a time. We tend to overreach and often have no patience to see things through. You can’t read all the pages of a book at once, it takes one page at a time. Jesus pointed it out that we need to take one day at a time. I love baseball, but it is played one inning at a time. You learn a new language one word at a time. Gumption takes discipline.
Gumption requires resisting temptation, subtle ones. You have to watch out for naysayers and prcrastination and rationalizing things away. Proverbs tells us a lot about these. You have to be alert to pitfalls in your task. Satan will throw every roadblock in your way to derail your train. Gumption keeps us alert to objects laying in our path.
Gumption requires encouragement and also accountability. Stay away from naysayers who are crepe hangers. Hang around those who build you up and encourage you. David had Jonathan, Elijah had Elisha, Paul had Timothy and Barnabas. We need positive people to help us stay courses. Solomon hit it on the head- “iron sharpens iron.” Proverbs 27:17
Gumption comes easier when we know that when we finish our goal and task, the rewards will be there, not just extrinsically but intrinsically. In other words, there will be that satisfaction of finishing the assignement satisfactorally. Mission accomplished, goal achieved is a wonderful thing to hear or say.
Make each day count for something. God has given you this day. The possibilities are endless. To live, really live, you need Christ in your life.That too, can take some gumption in a world that wants to throw water on your parade. But gumption pays off, spiritually and in everyday tasks and goals. Live each day as if it was your last, make it count. Live fully committed.
Have some gumption.