Faith & Fandom
Chuck: Shepherding The Nerd Herd
Oh the joy that floods my soul when I hear Zachary Levi’s voice say “Hi I’m Chuck, here are a few things you might need to know.” That phrase lets me know for whatever reason I’m about to delve into the world of Burbank, Buy More, and the Bartowskis. Chuck is one of the few shows I caught at the season premiere and followed through completion. The story of a down and out geek who gets a super powered government computer downloaded into his brain and his whole life turned upside down in the process, what’s not to love? Full disclosure, I only started the series because Adam Baldwin was in it (I was jonesing for Firefly and would take whatever I could get). I was soon deeply attached to this geek heavy action comedy, and then after reading Zack Levi’s “Relevant Magazine” article and discovering how important his Christian faith was, I would have followed this man into the gates of.....Jeff’s van.
For me personally I saw a lot of parallels between Chuck’s story and that of King David from the Old Testament. For the government, Chuck was not anyone’s first choice for the intersect program, not when you have suave highly skilled agents like Bryce Larkin. Bryce looked the part, had all the skills, and probably would have made an amazing intersect, but that’s not the way it worked out. While David may not have been a consideration for a government secret
weapon, he was up for the role of king. David, like Chuck, was chosen above all reasonable logic. 1 Samuel 16:6-13, we see that David is a lot more like Chuck than he is Bryce. David’s brothers fit the criteria for king more than he did, yet it’s the beautiful truth found in verse 7 that gives us all hope, “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him.
The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” God didn’t give David an intersect, but he did receive anointing, “the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David.” Like Chuck, once this took place, David’s life would never be the same, though I doubt David made a scrunchy “flash” face every time the spirit of the Lord spoke to him.
So once Chuck had the intersect, he in fact did amazing things. He stopped nuclear bombs with fruit juice, beat up Stone Cold Steve Austin, saved the world dozens of times, and even got the girl. True while most of his adventures were taking place, it was a balance of team work, awkward moments, and a sea of pop culture references. In the end he still put the intersect to good use. Likewise when David received the Lord’s call he did amazing things. In chapter 17 we see David go from making a food delivery (v17) to being the hero. He was willing to face an enemy that an entire army had been avoiding for 40 days (v16). He stood up to a King (v32-39), and he won the battle against a giant (v48-51). He did all this because of the anointing of God over him, and because, like Chuck, he didn’t let the overwhelming circumstances intimidate him or change who he was, which is a sign of a true leader.
Sadly, having a super powered cranial computer or God’s anointing doesn’t keep you from facing opposition. In all reality, you end up being even more of a target. The government ordered Kasey to kill Chuck, Volkoff tried to kill Chuck, The Ring tried kill Chuck, Fulcrum tried to kill Chuck, Shaw tried to kill Chuck, and seriously almost every episode had someone trying to kill Chuck. Yes he had an Intersect, yes he saved the world on a regular basis, but he was still a target. While David may not have had a bevy of international spies hunting him, he also faced the same opposition. King Saul initially welcomed and blessed David into his house, but all it took was people giving David more praise than him, and Saul was ready to consider him an enemy.
In Chapter 18 we see “ And the women sang to one another as they celebrated, “Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands, and what more can he have but the kingdom?” And Saul eyed David from that day on. (Verses7-9)” When it says “that day on” it means it. Saul spends a dozen chapters and years of his life hunting David. Even though he has God’s anointing and even though he is a hero, he spends years running, avoiding death, dodging people trying to hurt him. Even though David offers Saul mercy and forgiveness, Saul just won’t let up. Maybe we should consider this the next time we are facing opposition: God’s anointing and presence doesn’t negate the struggle- it just means we aren’t alone in it.
We know that we are never alone because God is there, but it also pays to have a die-hard friend. If we are honest, most of us have never had a friend as loyal, devoted, or as loving as Morgan Grimes. Yes, he causes tons of problems, gets Chuck into peril, and is the source of constant headaches, but he truly is Chuck’s friend. This is a guy who stood by him through elementary school, the Buy More, and countless spy missions. Most of us barely have friends who will return a phone call. One of the only other people to have a friend this loyal is David. Jonathan is the biblical equivalent of Morgan Grimes. In 1 Samuel 18:1 we read “As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.”
We may not express it in such “poetic” language, but that’s the type of friendship we all desire. Jonathan was the son of a king, yet he was devoted to a man who would take his rightful place. Jonathan constantly went to bat for David, knowing full well his dad was a psychopath. David would never have made it to be king if it wasn’t for the vigilant love of his friend. It doesn’t matter if you have the C.I.A., N.S.A., have been proclaimed king of Israel, or have an Intersect in your brain; life is much richer when you truly have friends to stand beside you like Morgan & Jonathan.
The great thing about Chuck is that with or without the intersect, he was a leader. He was humble, self- sacrificing, and compassionate. He went out of his way time after time to lead the awkward compatriots of the Buy More. Jeff, Lester, Big Mike, looked to Chuck because he had the concept down that a leader isn’t necessarily the one in the vest or embroidered polo; it was the one the people could depend on. Even in the spy world, Chuck was that guy. It took time for him to arrive at that point just like it took time for David to become the “Man After God’s Own Heart.”(Acts 13:22/1 Samuel 13:14) David made mistakes, arguably more failures than successes, but he still shepherded God’s people. He showed us what it meant to follow God as a shepherd. Even in the aftermath of failure, David shows us that when someone truly is following God, then they can be
someone worth following.
On the surface David and Chuck were just ordinary men, but when they received great opportunities they seized them. What they did with it affected thousands of people. So whether you are going to lead a Buy More, the nation of Israel, or just the circle of influence God has given you now, follow Him. Rely on Him. Make the most of each ability and opportunity He gives you, because you never know who you are leading.