The Ten Commandments

Top Ten Lists

A certain late night comedian used to offer up a Top Ten list every night. We all love lists. In my never ending journey to keep you informed, I offer three Top Ten lists for your critique. Let’s start with television. According to The Writers Guild, the top ten shows of all time are, in order: The Sopranos, Seinfeld, The Twilight Zone, All in the Family, M*A*S*H, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mad Men (huh?), Cheers, The Wire (double huh?), and West Wing. TV Guide takes seven of those shows out for their list, and includes I Love Lucy, 60 Minutes, The Late Show with David Letterman, The Honeymooners, The Simpsons (huh?), The Andy Griffith Show, and Saturday Night Live.  Let’s move to the world of baseball. The top ten players of all time, according to The Sporting News, are Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Hank Aaron, Lou Gehrig, Christy Mathewsen, Ted Williams, Rogers Hornsby, and Stan Musial. Not so fast, says They toss in Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Nolan Ryan, and Barry Bonds. How about presidents? According to a C-Span poll, you ranked them in this order: George Washington, Abe Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, Harry Truman, Thomas Jefferson, John Kennedy, and Dwight Eisenhower. But ABC took a poll and got this result: Abe Lincoln, John Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, George Washington, Bill Clinton, Teddy Roosevelt, George H. W. Bush, Thomas Jefferson, and Harry Truman.

Any time you want to stir up discussion and disagreement, ask a group of people to agree on a top ten list of anything: movies, food, beaches, books, churches, cities, actors, singers, authors, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker. We can’t agree on anything. Oh, wait a minute. There is one Top Ten list that has never changed. It’s called The Ten Commandments. We would do well if we could master just the first one: “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). Life is full of uncertainties. We all have opinions on the best restaurant, team, and place to take a walk. And your opinion matters. But when we come to The Ten Commandments, we are not looking at ten suggestions. If you break them, they will break you. So go ahead. Make your lists. But there is one list that will never change. Start with the first command and start today. “You shall have no other gods before me.”

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