Wealth and fame are often no friends to faith.
The temptations experienced by Christians are often limited by financial constraints. After all, most of us simply cannot afford to constantly indulge in addictive substances, illicit activities, and mindless self-indulgence. The money runs out, we’re forced to confront ourselves, and repentance is all the easier in the absence of unlimited temptation.
But wealth and fame are also a platform—just as they expand the realm of temptation, they also expand the realm of opportunity. They allow a select number of people to reach out and help others as few of us ever can.
Silas Robertson, known as Uncle Si on A&E’s Duck Dynasty, has used has platform well, becoming a great example of how to use wealth to not only do good, but to actually grow in faith.
A Breakout Star
Before emerging as everyone’s favorite tea-sippin’ Duck Dynasty star, Si was a high school football player, Sergeant First Class in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, and, upon retirement from the army in 1993, fashioner of the reeds that went into every Duck Commander duck call.
Known as much for his jokes, antics, and stories as for his ever-present blue Tupperware cup which he keeps filled with iced tea, Si has long been a fan favorite amongst the cast of the show.
Duck Dynasty, at its most popular, had the most viewers of any nonfiction cable show in history, generating over 400 million dollars in merchandising revenue alone and propelling its television personalities to worldwide fame.
But fame and fortune have done little to change Uncle Si—the Tupperware cup in his hand is still the same one his mother sent to him as part of a care package during his time in Vietnam. He still tells the same jokes, although he now has a few new stories. He’s still the same man he always was.
Just as significantly, he still holds the same faith. No—that’s not quite right. His faith has, in fact, grown stronger since his rise to television prominence.
In a 2016 interview with Beliefnet, Si briefly talked to us about his new book, “Si-renity,” and gave us a few details about how his Duck Dynasty fame has affected his life and faith. Let’s take a look at what the reed-maker had to say.
An Interview With Uncle Si
What is “Si-renity” all about, and what inspired you to write another book?
"The fans want to know what I’m doing now, and so the book is what happened since the show became a hit, and includes all the events we went to and all the things that have happened since then.
God has just taken me on a wonderful ride. I’ve met fabulous people—most of them fans—and I’ve spent the night at people’s houses where they’ve opened up their homes to me in all different states, which is so cool. I’ve seen all kinds of neat things that God has done using the Robertson family. That was what brought about me writing this—the fans enjoyed 'Si-cology 1,' and asked 'What’s happened in your life since the show became a hit?' The book mainly just tells what’s going on, what I’ve been through, and how I’ve stayed on an even keel, so to speak.
Were there any stories that were particularly fun to reminisce about?
All of it was! When you do something like this, you’re going back in time thinking about things that have happened—a lot of times, you bust out laughing. With us, with what goes on, some of the times tears get in your eyes. With the Make a Wish Foundation for kids, those kids come to you with their last wish on earth—they’re dying—which is that they want to meet me or meet my family members. Well, you’ve got to think about that. The person is fixing to pass away, and their last wish on this earth is to meet Uncle Si? Well, number one, that’s quite humbling. And number 2, it’s unbelievable.
The Almighty has turned it around, okay, and what he’s done has actually strengthened my faith in Him. He’s used people that are on their way out. We sent prayers out to some of them, and they’ve actually been healed. It’s just a neat thing to be a part of.
I tell people a lot of times that God knew what He was doing. If he had gave me this kind of fame when I was 25, I wouldn’t have been worth tootin’. I was young and I wouldn’t have handled it well. He waited until I got older and a little more mature, and hopefully I’ve handled it well enough that He’s pleased with me."
Is there any wisdom that you’d particularly like to share with our readers?
"When I’m out at events, people always ask 'What words of wisdom will you leave with us before you’re done for the night?' I say, 'Look, life is way too short—learn to laugh at yourself, because look, we’re all human, and we all make mistakes, and sometimes we do stupid stuff. We say, ‘What was I thinking?’ I know I’ve done it. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t done it.'