Summary: This is a message of encouragement that highlights all the "lesser" lights that play a worthy part in any church.

Acts 17:32-34 KJV And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. [33] So Paul departed from among them. [34] Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.


When I was a kid, there was a weekly columnist who graced the pages of the Dothan Eagle. He was the famous (or infamous) Lewis Grizzard, a great Southern humorist, who lived in Atlanta. He generally did his best to explain to all the outsiders (meaning Yankees), how the good “Suthrun” folks lived.

He would write some of the funniest stories about grits, cathead biscuits, and turnips that had been graced with hog-jowls. He would write about great “Suthrun” Americans such as Weyman C. Wannamaker, Jr. who had great skills with a pool cue. In fact he wrote one story about how that Weyman gave instructions about how to use the back end of a pool stick to put a genuine knot on the head of a fellow who accused him of cheating one day at the pool hall. Before the incident was over, Weyman had added a knot to the poor sap’s head and shoved a number 5 ball in his mouth.

Grizzard wrote about the pretty girls that he spent a lot of time daydreaming about. Like, for instance, Kathy Sue Loudermilk, who was always more interested in Weyman C. Wannamaker, Jr. than she was in Lewis Grizzard.

Old Lewis wrote a fair amount about dogs too. He had them categorized according to how they acted. There were yard dogs that were the sort that enjoyed eating table scraps and on hot summer days would generally be found lying up under a pickup truck trying to cool off. There were hog dogs who were fat little dogs whose lineage could not be quite determined, the Heinz 57 sort of breed, but they would eat anything that was tossed in their bowls and then would beg for more when it all had been consumed. There were lap dogs that spent a lot of time just loving their owners. They would jump up in the lap of their owner and lick their face, hands, and anything else that came near their red tongues. There were A. J. Foyt dogs that would spend much time lying at the edge of the yard and chased every car, truck, tractor, or motorcycle that came by. Grizzard said that of all the dogs in his neck of the woods that this sort of dog usually had the shortest life span because inevitably he would end up catching one of those vehicles he was chasing and great was the fall of it. There were also shoe dogs that spent a lot of time searching out shoes to chew up and when there were no shoes available to gnaw on, they would resort to glasses, books, and various and sundry objects.

Lewis had a terrible problem with his heart and endured some nasty open-heart surgeries before he would finally die on the third attempt. His first heart surgery required a valve replacement. He spent much joy and a sense of great pride in telling his readers that he had a pig’s valve in his heart. He related that he now had a good excuse for wanting to spend much of his days lying around and taking long afternoon naps. He also said that until he had his heart surgery that he always enjoyed seeing how far he could spit watermelon seeds but now he would just rather eat them. He attributed this pig-like quality to the new heart valve he had installed.

Lewis Grizzard also wrote a lot of books. They had nifty titles like, “If I Ever Get Back To Georgia, I’m Gonna Nail My Feet To the Ground,” and “Chili Dawgs Always Bark At Night,” and one that mentioned “taters” having eyes, and a few others. But there was one that captured my attention sometime back, the title was “Shoot Low Boys, They’re Riding Shetland Ponies.” It tells of Lewis’ hunt for some real heroes.

He starts off explaining about how that when he was a kid, his heroes were the dime-store cowboys like John Wayne. He tells about how that John Wayne could ride a horse with the reins in his mouth, a six-shooter in his left hand, a rifle in his right hand, and charge into a gang of outlaws and lay them all low. What set John Wayne apart were the big white horses or big black horses that he would ride. These horses always put John Wayne in a class all by himself.

This was the sort of stuff that Lewis’ believed heroes were made of when he was a kid. But he said that as he got older he begin to realize that this sort of hero worship was so far-fetched and unrealistic that his search for heroes changed. He said that he found a whole lot of great heroes who did not ride big white horses but there were a lot of heroes who were confined to riding Shetland ponies. He found some great Americans who were down on their luck and pretty much flat on their back with some of the blows that life had dealt but they continued to get back up and dream again.

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David Johnston

commented on Jan 12, 2008

Great message not only for church folks, but pastors as well. Too often, we want the big white horse to ride in on to our pulpits, and that may happen from time to time, but for the most part, it's the Shetland ponies that'll get the job done best!

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