I have an affinity for old TV shows, particularly Hazel, I Love Lucy, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, and of course, The Andy Griffith Show. Andy, Opie, Barney, and Aunt Bee are the perfect ending to a long day. In fact, each evening here at the Florence Farm, we find ourselves watching at least one episode before turning over to the news. It doesn’t matter that we’ve seen every episode numerous times, we are entertained just the same. In an episode we watched recently, Opie didn’t want his new friend to realize his pa was the sheriff. “You mind if just this once we shake hands instead of huggin’ and I call you Sheriff Taylor instead of Paw, Paw?” Opie asked Andy. “I wouldn’t want Timmy thinking the Sheriff was my paw or anything.”
After giggling at the exchange, I found myself wondering how many sons or daughters have been embarrassed by their parents at one time or another. Maybe they were ashamed to introduce their parents in fear of their friends thinking their parents were old-fashioned, had too many rules, or weren’t cool (or whatever word our society is using at the moment) enough. Then, my mind wandered to my Heavenly Father and a thought stopped me dead in my tracks. How many times have I not wanted people to know who my Heavenly Father was for fear of people thinking I wasn’t fun, popular, trendy or didn’t know how to have a good time?
ACKNOWLEDGING OUR FATHER
Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. – Matthew 10:32-33
When I used to think about denying Christ, I would automatically think of Peter’s denial – when he swore, “I don’t know the man!” in Matthew 26. Sure, that’s part of denying Christ, but there’s more to it. In fact, there are all kinds of ways we deny Him. Here are just a few:
- By not keeping a strong communication with Christ through fervent prayer and daily Bible Study.
- By not attending church faithfully and being selfish with our time and priorities.
- By not worshipping with singing and participation.
- By withholding our tithe.
- By not serving God and others.
SHOWING OUR LOVE
At my father’s funeral, our minister shared how my siblings and I were very affectionate and demonstrative with our love for our dad. He recounted a time when Daddy was in the hospital many years prior to his death for a minor surgery. My brother, the oldest of us, was 16 at the time. He walked into our dad’s hospital room, and though it was filled with several visitors – preacher included - my teenaged brother immediately went over and enveloped my dad in a strong embrace. My brother didn’t care that others were watching and certainly wasn’t afraid if people would laugh or tease him. Why? Because that was his dad – our dad – and he loved him so much that he couldn’t help but show it! And I pray I always feel that way about my Heavenly Father!
Well, as you can imagine, somewhere near the midpoint of the episode, there was a problem. The little game of “Can we pretend you’re not my paw?” quickly came to an end when Opie needed Pa. At that point, Opie didn’t care what Timmy. He apologized to Andy and explained he would never pretend he wasn’t his Paw again. Of course, as fathers do, Andy forgave him, came to the rescue, and saved Opie.
How many times have we’ve gone about our own lives, denying Christ? Yet, troubles arise and we realize we need Him. So we pray, we ask forgiveness, and we ask for help. And just like Andy, our Father in heaven forgives us – and, if we’ve acknowledged Him here on earth, He will acknowledge us in front of His Father.