Genuine Faith

Keith Pate

I enjoy old episodes of The Andy Griffith Show. One of my favorites is called: Opie the Birdman. This heartfelt story is about Opie (Andy’s young son) who receives a sling shot for a gift. Andy warns him to be careful using it. Opie in excited boyish fashion takes his sling shot in tow, aiming and shooting randomly throughout the neighborhood. A hapless shot however lands him in distress, when he “accidentally” hits and kills a mother bird in the tree in their front yard. Opie at first is filled with disbelief at what just happened, as well as, shaken and sorrowful for his actions. However his immediate
thought is to run inside ignoring the fatality of what he
has done.

Later that evening, as Andy enters the house, he finds the dead bird on the lawn. At supper he comments about the baby birds chirping for their mother and surmises the neighbor’s cat must have killed the mother bird. At this point Opie’s guilt boils over, he runs to his room with Andy soon following.

Wise Andy then goes to Opie and investigates the situation. Opie, with tear filled eyes, soon confesses he accidentally killed the Mama bird. Andy reminded Opie that he had warned him to be careful with the sling shot. He affirmed Opie’s sorrow but told him “I’m sorry” won’t feed those baby birds tonight as they call for their mother. Andy then opens the window to drive home the point and stress the severity of Opie’s actions.

The next day Opie has a solution. He will feed and raise the birds to adulthood and then let them go. (Youtube the episode for the rest of the story.)

This story is rich in spiritual parallels.

Often when we sin and it adversely impacts others (which most of the time it does), we think an “I’m sorry” will “fix” things and we can go about our merry way. Not true. In Opie’s situation the result of his carelessness were hungry baby birds with no mother to feed them, and certain death their end, unless someone stepped in and filled the gap.
James 2:14-17 (ESV) speaks to this situation.

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good[a] is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Read the rest of the chapter for more rich insights on how we should live as Christ’s children.

Genuine faith displayed by true followers of Christ results in action. It doesn’t mean we will always make the right choice, but when we do mess up we need to recognize our failure, seek forgiveness from our Heavenly Father and the person(s) we have wronged, and try to make restitution.

The old adage “Actions speak Louder than Words” rings true and speaks to our true character. This character is developed as we draw closer each
day to a loving God, who transforms and fashions us in His image as we surrender to His will. (Romans 12:1-2).

Keith Pate About Keith Pate

Keith is originally from Castleberry, AL in Conecuh County. He joined Eastern Hills as Minister of Music in January of 2005 from Anastasia Baptist Church in St. Augustine, FL.