Things Haven’t Changed

By BJ Funk

I love to watch reruns of the “Andy Griffith Show,” which ran from 1960-1968. During the 30-minute show, I fall back into a slower time in America. I laugh at Barney and enjoy the absolutely hilarious facial antics he brings to the show. I enjoy Andy’s wisdom with Opie, and I allow a quieter, more restful time to hold my interest for half an hour.

However, I looked at today’s recording a little differently, as it carried an important lesson coming through the script. It was Sunday, and Andy’s family was dressing for morning church. A pastor from New York visited Mayberry and would bring the message. Their excitement displayed their inner joy that a preacher all the way from the Big Apple would be in their pulpit.

Aunt Bee called her friend, Clara, and asked what she was wearing. Then, she got down to the really important thing about church when she asked Clara if she would be wearing earrings that day. Aunt Bee asked Clara if church goers in New York wore earrings. Clara didn’t know, so they decided to wear them, anyway.  Their conversation ended, and the next scene shows them inside of the church.

The theme of the pastor’s sermon was “Slow down. Rest. Don’t Be in Such a Hurry.” Each one sat as if glued to his seat until suddenly, on about the fourth row, Gomer began to snore. Somebody gave him a nudge. Then, the quietness of the church joined the steady voice of the preacher, making for a very sleepy morning. Barney succumbed next, but Andy shook him a bit, and he woke up.

As the family was leaving the church, everyone was smiling and congratulating the pastor for his excellent sermon. I, however, was sitting in my chair wondering what just hit me. What sermon? In the 1960’s did pastors really get by without talking about Jesus in a sermon? Not even one time? For real? Or was that just to make an interesting script?

Here’s a question for you to ponder. Have you ever heard a Sunday morning sermon that didn’t mention Jesus? Or God? Or Faith? Or hope? Or grace? Or love? What about salvation, Pentecost, the Holy Spirit?

Do we have enough time to leave cherished, hallowed words out of our sermons? Is there enough time left for us to do more than just tickle ears, bring a feel-good sermon and make sure that the pastor knows how much we love the sermon even if nothing was said about the gospel?

Then, there’s the challenge of the earrings. Do we have enough time left in this life to stay on the phone trying to find out if ladies in New York decorate their ears for church? Is that the most important question of the day?

Some things haven’t changed that much. We do not have enough time left for the frivolous, the mundane, the unimportant, the trivial, the silly. We only have time to give them Jesus and to proclaim him as Savior and Lord.

People come to church thirsty for a drink of Living Water, starved for the Bread of Life, and hoping an hour in church will help them know there is always room for them at the altar. Hurting souls come to find a smile, get a hug, hear a Word, make a friend, and learn to believe in themselves again. They come to church to find out if there is hope for them at the foot of the cross. And, they don’t give one thought if the ladies in New York wear earrings or not.

God help us. I have watched the following scene many times in my life. You have, too. People are leaving church with big smiles, shaking the pastor’s hand and saying how much they loved the sermon. It’s just what you do.

What if – just what if – a weary soul fell upon the pastor as she walked out? And what if – just what if – the pastor stopped shaking hands, sat down on the steps by her and led her in the sinner’s prayer?

Heaven comes to earth, an explosion of angels’ voices ring out, a heart changes, and church might never be the same. It would all happen regardless of whether the ladies in New York wear earrings to church or not.

B.J. Funk is Good News’ long-time devotional columnist and author of  It’s A Good Day for Grace, available on Amazon.


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