As a child of the 70’s, the Duke boys of the original show The Dukes of Hazzard were just about the coolest guys on God’s green earth. A show that featured exploding arrows, car chases and a bright orange Dodge Charger named after Robert E. Lee somehow made sense in the 70’s kids, just trust me.
I did not notice that each chase somehow involving jumping over a stream with a perfectly placed ramp. I just reveled in the awesomeness of it.
It was a very strange decade, men had perms for Pete’s sake, and not as part of some sort of cruel interrogation technique, “Ok, give us the intel or we will perm your hair as tight as Mike Brady’s from the Brady Bunch!”. It was the style along with lots of dark orange everything. It is a reasonable bet that the Anti-christ is going to have a man perm and wear orange velour, it was just that bad.
But back to the Duke boys – John Schneider played the way cooler of the two Duke boys, Bo Duke. Tom Wopat who played the other brother Luke Duke even probably admits it. Somehow he became a huge star as a result of the role. Again, moonshiners driving a bright orange Charger with the Confederate flag somehow played well on Network TV back then. Weird time!
During one of the later seasons of the show, Schneider suddenly dropped out of the role and disappeared from my view. I was crushed but soon Knight Rider came along and all was made well for me.
Many years later after I became a Christian, John Schneider popped back up on my radar. He started appearing in Christian movies and on the new Christian TV stations that I had started watching.
I was intrigued. I had to find out how in the world Bo Duke became a follower of Jesus Christ! It was strangely awesome, comforting and unexpected. In short, after searching Youtube, I found an interview in which he was asked just that question. He explained that it came down to the influence of his grandmother and Johnny Cash.
Wait, what? Yup, that is what he said.
His grandmother had planted a seed in him over many years while he was growing up. It had taken a long time to grow but it had taken off after years of the Hollywood lifestyle. He had then spent time as an adult living with Johnny Cash. Yes, the man in black with all of his well-publicized problems. This time had caused him to examine his faith and come to embrace it in a way that he had never done before.
His grandmother had planted the seed of the message of Jesus. Johnny Cash spent hours watering that seed and tending the faith through discipling that made the faith strong.
What a strange team, right? If you needed to bring someone to a saving faith in Jesus Christ immediately would you call John Schneider’s Grammy and Johnny Cash?
Or maybe not that strange. Would you call Priscilla and Aquila, simple tent makers from the Book of Acts? They explained the Gospel to Apollos so that he understood it for the first time. Apollos appears to have been one of the great speakers of the early church. How about your local fishermen like Peter, James and John? Would you call the guy who manned the car wash you pass by each morning or the bus driver who drives you to work?
My mother is in the hospital and needs to talk with someone about faith, call Bo Duke’s Grammy, Johnny Cash and if they are not available the local tentmaker or fishermen! Stat!
From a worldly perspective, it just makes no sense. There is not a seminary education between any of them. They are (drops to a whisper sinners). Johnny Cash even did drugs. He was very open about his struggle with addiction AND his faith in Jesus. He was not perfect, but knew Jesus was so he pointed to Him. They just seem so different, so unqualified and so, well, normal don’t they.
If you think about it though, you probably have a similar list of disparate people that lead you to the foot of the Cross. Those from your past that influenced you in big and little ways to get you on your knees. My list includes a paralegal at a law firm I worked at, missionaries from a destructive cult and my wife. Paralegals, bad missionaries, and my wife, oh my!
You are not going to see these simple folks opening up a fancy evangelistic Crusade anytime soon. Francis Chan will be on in a minute folks but first let us give it up for Tom’s former paralegal who has a word for us.
But God doesn’t care about fancy. Remember, He chooses the foolish things and the lowly things to do His work. He then uses them mightily to carry out things that should be impossible. It shows God’s glory best when a tentmaker preaches the message that saves rather than a trained orator.
God regularly uses simple people from all backgrounds to speak of His Son. They just need to have the Son to pass Him on.
He also uses them in ways that they may never know about. Bo Duke’s grandmother may have never known Johnny Cash or the role that he was to play. Yet, God weaves her work and his together to lead Bo Duke to heaven. God blends each of His willing worker’s efforts together into a wonderful work of art. Each brush stroke, His willing servant’s effort, testifying to others about God’s glory. Each person working at exactly the right time with the right words that each lost person needs at that time. It is just what he does.
While great names like D.L. Moody and Billy Graham flash across the face of Christendom periodically, it is mostly the every day contributions of simple people like you and me that reach the millions. It is faithful praying Grandmas like Bo Duke had under the direction and power of the Holy Spirit, that keep the wheels of God’s Kingdom moving and people walking towards the Savior.
You may feel like you are not eloquent and not intelligent enough. You may feel like you are too weak or are too scared to reach people. That it is a miracle that God loves tragically flawed you. If you do, perfect, you are a man or woman that God can really use to change the world and show His power.
So keep going, keep speaking, keep testifying of Jesus even if you are not seeing the fruit, especially if you are discouraged. God is adding to His Church daily. Sometimes we just don’t know if we are playing the role of Grandma who planted the seed or like Johnny Cash who was there at the harvest. His will is being done, though, and we can rejoice in the harvest.