As the night progressed, though, one thing became fairly obvious. I had merely dressed as Andy Taylor. Sammy, however, had done far more than dress like Barney Fife. He actually imitated him. And he did it so well that it was hard to make the distinction between the imitator and the imitated. At times, it was if Ol’ Barn’ himself was right here in our midst. We were all swept up in the moment and it felt like we were right slap dab in the middle of downtown Mayberry.
I couldn’t help but think of Paul’s admonition in 1 Corinthians 11:1: “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” The word "follow" is a translation of the word "mimetai" in the original Greek, meaning "to imitate, to mimic". You see, I had only dressed to look like Andy. Sammy, however, did far more than just dress the part.
He sought to mimic the behavior of Barney at literally every turn: in his speech, in his mannerisms, in his walk, in his disposition. In nearly every single way, he imitated Barney Fife. One might say that he was "in character" the whole evening.
In truth, there is a difference between mere resemblance and full blown imitation. The former is, by comparison, much easier than the latter. For the latter takes work - hard work. It takes intentionality. It takes practice. It takes devotion.
So, thank, you Barney, uh, er, Sammy, for the wonderful evening of entertainment. Thank you keeping us in stitches, as it were, from laughing so hard throughout the evening. More importantly, thank you for reminding us all, and especially me, that I have been called to imitate Christ, and not just merely to resemble Him. And I already know what that means: "They'll be no mollycoddling!" So... it looks like it's high time for me to get to work becoming more like Jesus Christ!
Seriously, may we all, and especially may I as a pastor, be faithful to do just that. Remember, as Barney himself once said: "That badge means something! Don't disgrace it!"
Sammy's web site is: http://www.bfife4life.com/. Be warned: you will laugh!