Lessons learned from Barn and Ange

No matter how many times I watch it or how many years pass, “The Andy Griffith Show” continues to be an ongoing source of entertainment for me. Given that the show continues to be shown in reruns on televisions across America almost 60 years after it first aired, lots of folks apparently agree. I eagerly wait in anticipation from the moment when Andy and Opie appear on the screen (in black and white, preferably) and the whistle of “The Fishin’ Hole” begins. The announcer bellows, “THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW,” followed by “Starring Andy Griffith” (as if we didn’t know), “With Ronny Howard” and “Also Starring Don Knotts,” and I brace myself for what crazy situation will unfold in the minutes ahead. I have a particular affinity for Don Knotts’ character, “Barney Fife,” and have been told that I do a pretty good imitation of Ol’ Barn. But I digress. I think my affection for that particular character has something to do with the fact that the beleaguered deputy is painfully human. From the time that he joins the choir and is horribly off-key, yet volunteers to scout the rest of the singers to see who the culprit is, to his attempts to reform town drunk Otis, to his romantic endeavors on the phone with Juanita, the waitress at the diner, Barney is constantly finding himself in a mess. And he can always count on his best friend Andy, or “Ange” as Barney calls him, to get him out of trouble or at least soften the blow to his ego. How many of us can relate to Barney? I would dare say that most of us can. Particularly in our approach to God. We push full speed ahead with regard to circumstances in life, trying to fix things that we have no control over, craving the approval of others more than glorifying God. Barney, bless his heart, does get caught up in the moment and finds himself bumbling and stumbling through life. At the end of the day, Andy usually rides in for the rescue -- even when Barney is leading a town rescue of Andy and Helen when they get trapped in a cave. Andy realizes that Barney will be vilified by townsfolk if they find out Barney has been leading them on a wild goose chase and he and Helen get themselves back into the cave and await a triumphant Barney to rescue them. And isn’t that what God has done for us? We were in desperate need of rescue -- we needed a Savior -- and He provided One for us in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus was nailed to the cross with our sins and died so that we can live. Some might find a comparison with “The Andy Griffith Show” to our relationship with God a bit off the wall. But like Barney and his relationship with Andy, we are unaware of just how much God is working in our lives many times and might take the credit or pats on the back for ourselves. Jesus basks not in the glow of what He’s done, but knowing that He has accomplished the Father’s will. That’s good news in Mayberry or anywhere. (Rick Hendricks is a former editor of The Chronicle and now works as a chaplain for Hospice Care of South Carolina.)

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