For this reason, I fell into the pattern of spending evening after evening on my cell phone and/or laptop returning phone calls, and/or answering text messages, emails, or similar correspondence. And if these things were not pressing, then writing a blog post, a letter of some sort, or else working on the next sermon to be delivered was.
All that changed a few weeks ago. While I still answer calls, messages, and emails, and while I still write blog posts, my nightly routine now intentionally involves at least a little relaxation. In the process, I have re-discovered my love for “The Andy Griffith Show”.
I would that the old “40 Acres Backlot” where “The Andy Griffith Show” was filmed still existed. Sadly, it was torn down back in the mid-1970s and paved over with office complexes. How nice it would be to visit the fictional Mayberry and walk down familiar streets! At least, though, we can still visit Mayberry each night on the classic television channel.
Most of us know the cast of characters we find there all too well. Sheriff Taylor, Deputy Fife, Aunt Bee, Opie, Floyd the Barber, cousins Gomer and Goober Pyle, Mayors Pike and Stoner, Helen Crump, Thelma Lou, Otis, Clara, venerable old Judd, Reverend Tucker, John Masters, Howard Sprague, and Emmet Clark.
Beyond the regulars were the interlopers who regularly passed through town – Earnest T. Bass, the Darlings, the so-called “Fun Girls”, and Rafe Hollister. It would be hard to imagine Mayberry without any of these unique characters. Each and every one regularly brought his or her own unique blend into the mix that was “The Andy Griffith Show”.
But lately, I have noticed another group of recurrent characters on the “The Andy Griffith Show” – one that rarely if ever gets any attention. Yet, without these faithful cast members consistently doing their part, the show could have never been as wildly successful as it has been over the decades.
The people I am referencing are the “townsfolk”. In one episode, Sheriff Taylor references some 2000 people who reside in Mayberry. You see some portion of them in almost every episode as they quietly populate the town of Mayberry. They can be seen walking by in the background, standing in line at the Mayberry Savings Bank, shopping in Weaver’s department store, getting gas at Wally’s filling station, and even sitting attentively in church.
Often, they can be counted on to congregate in mass on the streets whenever Deputy Fife has found it necessary to climax some scene by calling upon them to cease and disperse.
They do not get to talk. (One assumes that the Screen Actor Guild, or some such governing entity, allowed the production company to pay them less if they technically uttered no lines.) However, they are often heard mumbling, grumbling, cheering and/or amen-ing as the scene dictates.
The point is that they were an integral part of just about every episode. Mayberry would not have been possible without them. And yet, they were never officially recognized. We do not know their names (of either the fictional character or the actual actors who portrayed them). Their names do not appear in either the opening or closing the episode credits. In short, they fulfill a vital role in an anonymous capacity!
As I have reflected on this, I have been reminded of the church of Jesus Christ. In most congregations, a select few receive a fair amount of attention. These include ministers, church staff, church officers, committee members, teachers, etc… All these individuals tend to receive recognition for their service to the church.
But beyond this, there is a whole host of individuals who populate the church. And the vast majority of these faithfully serve the Lord in obscurity. They quietly go about the business of making the church what the church is. They do this day in and day out, week in and week out, year in and year out. And they do so in relative anonymity.
Yet, try and run the church and/or her ministries without them! To do so would not be difficult; to do so would be impossible! For this reason, I take this opportunity to pause and say thank you to all those who quietly go about serving the Lord; and who do so with little or no expectation of acknowledgment or recognition.
These days, I am personally intent upon discovering just who those unknown “extras” on the “The Andy Griffith Show” cast actually were. I, for one, appreciate all they did to enhance the value of the show! So, for me, it is quite rewarding to search the internet and uncover such information.
But just as I have come to appreciate the unsung heroes of Mayberry, even so have I come to appreciate those of the church of Jesus Christ! More to the point, I find myself eagerly awaiting the day when the roll is called up yonder and the books are opened. For then, and only then, will we fully appreciate the part played by each and every person in the church!
In the New Testament Book of Revelation (chapter 20, verse 12), the Apostle John says, “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.”
My suspicion is that, when that day comes, we will all be more than a little surprised to discover just who did what for the Kingdom of God!
SCRIPTURE SOURCE: https://biblehub.com/revelation/20-12.htm.
SEE ALSO: Mark 10:29-30; 1 Corinthians 3:8; 2 Corinthians 5:10; and Revelation 2:23, 22:12.
ALSO, FOR A FUN FEW MINUTES, VISIT THE FICTIONAL "MAYBERRY", N.C. AT: http://www.retroweb.com/40acres.html. Be sure to click on the "Virtual Tour" tab and take the tour.