"How Do You Do Misses Wiley!"
One of my favorite television shows is the, “Andy Griffith Show.” It is a series that can still make me laugh, cry, and think within the span of thirty minutes. It was a show about human nature, the good and even the bad in folks. Each character brought their own value to the show. Whether it was the wisdom of Andy, the sensitivity of Barney, the motherly love of Aunt Bea, or the wonderment of Opie, every episode was wonderful.
However, out of all the cast of characters, my favorite was Earnest T. Bass. Anytime Earnest T. Bass showed up something interesting was going to happen. My favorite episode with Earnest T. was the one where Andy had spent time with him to pass him off as a relative at a party hosted by Mrs. Wiley. These soirees took place on a regular basis and were attended by the brightest and best Mayberry had to offer. There was no question that Andy had his work cut out for himself, because Earnest T. was, well, he was a wild man! Andy taught him how to speak without his mountain accent (which by the way, is hard to do!) and how to act acceptable in the presence of the so called “Upper crust” of the town. With a new suit, a different swagger, and a couple of sentences to repeat, Earnest T. Bass was ready to go dancing.
Under the watchful eyes of Andy and Barney, Earnest T. received the approval of Mrs. Wiley and the rest of the snobbish guests. Everything was going smoothly until, well, until Earnest T. became Earnest T! He cracked a potted plant over a man’s head who was dancing with his potential love interest. It was at that point Earnest T. lost his composure, along with his new accent, and the charade was over. In a matter of seconds, he went from a man who was able to turn down “coffee, tea, or punch, thank you…and not shaking ladies’ hands” to a supposed “creatchure.” Even though he had a major meltdown, the views knew that they had not seen the last of Earnest T. Bass! No matter how hard he tried, Earnest T. could not run away from himself. Where ever he went, there he was! This same truth applies to all of us. No matter what type of clothes we wear or how we speak, what is on the inside will eventually be revealed on the outside.
Luke 6:43-45 records the words of Jesus regarding what lies within the human heart. “For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do nor gather figs from thorns, not do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” In the heat of the moment, what does your mouth reveal about your heart? No amount of education, wealth, knowledge, or religion can change your heart. The only One who can change your heart is the One who created your heart, and that is Jesus Christ. Hoping in anything or anyone else is a waste of time and energy. I believe it is great to “brush yourself up, clean yourself up, and put on some good smelling stuff” on a regular basis. But only Jesus can transform you into the person that can honor God and man.
Remember, Don’t Give In To Sin. Think About It!
THINKIN' BOUT IT
Dr. Vincent Hefner
First Baptist Church