One of the good guys died this week. Actor Andy Griffith died last night at age 86. Although he had a movie career (most famously, No Time for Sergeants), Griffith was probably best known for his role as Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry, North Carolina. A country boy demeanor hid a perceptive and intelligent law enforcement officer, who always seemed to get his man–usually after his bumbling deputy Barney Fife had made a mess of the case and a fool of himself. His character embodied Jesus’ command to the disciples, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16, KJV) A widower on the show, we all watched as he raised little Opie to become the dream child of many Americans. Many a father in America, including this one, learned the value of a gentle word and timely forgiveness on shaping the character of a young man.
It should be no surprise that Andy was a devout Christian. What many may not know is that he suffered from Guillan-Barr Syndrome. His response to that disease. “I firmly believe that in every situation, no matter how difficult, God extends grace greater than the hardship, and strength and peace of mind that can lead us to a place higher than where we were before.”
Good-bye, Andy. We will still enjoy your humor and life lessons through the reruns of The Andy Griffth Show and Matlock. Your Christian witness among the citizens of Hollywood and particularly the people of Mount Airy, North Carolina are a legacy of influence that will bless many for generations.