The Great Cats at the zoo are always a disappointment.
We think of the King of the Beasts and we immediately think of a Lion. We think of him strong and strutting. We think of him shaking a thick golden mane and walking with powerful steps through his kingdom daring anyone to defy him. We think of his growl and his roar filling the jungle with fear and awe. We think of his pride. We think of him circling his pride keeping them safe and unified. Circling and keeping predators at bay. We see him regally attacking any opposition to his domain with a fierceness that will not be matched. We see his tail twitching, like a clock’s hands, counting the minutes to a sure confrontation if one dares defy his authority.
We also see his tenderness. We see him stroking the neck of the lioness, playfully batting a cub that jumps on his tail. We see something unstoppable. Something inspiring. Something breathtaking and amazing. Something we can’t take our eyes off. Something worthy of our attention. He is worthy looking for. He is worth waiting for.
Then we go to the zoo.
At the zoo the Great Cats are at the far side of the zoo from the entrance. They are all the way at the end. They are what we keep our children moving towards. They are what propel us to keep walking.
“Come now, we want to make sure we have time to see the big cats,” We coax our children dawdling in the farm animal section.
“Come now, we haven’t seen the big cats yet,” We encourage when little feet get tired.
“Come now, we still have the great cats to see,” We call when some are lagging behind.
Finally, we do arrive in that hoped for place. We get to the Lion’s Lair.
We look with anticipation. We search with eagerness. “There he is!” Hiding behind the shrubs. Laying there. Dosing.
“It’s hot.” We make excuse.
“He’s moving!” someone cries. We all stand at attention.
The Lion lazily yawns and slowly gets up. He shifts his head with boredom and looks this way and that. He stumbles across the grass to anther shady spot and plops down dejectedly and drops his head on his paws like an old blood hound.
This is what we’ve been waiting for? This is what has kept us moving all day? This is the animal we say is our favorite? This is the animal that is the King of the beast? What a disappointment.
This is a picture of our men. God created our men to be wild. To be free. To be kingly. To be stately and proud. To be undefiable. Leaders. Strong. Confident. Possessive of his people. Protective of his pride. Taking over the jungle for his own.
But, we have built a zoo. We have decided man must be preserved for future generations. We want to showcase his glory. We want all to see this stately king. So, we bring him in. We put him in a box. We set him on a pedastool. We build up the suspense and we invite people to stare.
What has happened to our kings? They have been put in a box. They have been deprived of the hunt, the fight for survival. We have given them everything they need to survive, but pulled out from under their feet the very things that make them thrive! They have lost all desire to live. They have lost all care to strut. They have lost the need to roar with passion. They have been stripped of the pride to lead. Even the lioness is separated from him by an unscalable wall.
Come on men! Jump over that gate. Roar as if your life depends on it. Roar as if you pride can still hear you and will follow you if you lead. Believe in yourself again. Believe in your position. Believe in your call. You are the KING OF THE BEASTS. You are the MIGHTY ONE. You are the One we are waiting for! Step up. Step out of that box and deliver. Shake that mane and lift up your head. Circle up your pride into unity. Circle around your lady and your children- the flock you were called to shepherd, and dare the enemy to step in and separate you again. Refuse to live on the throne of a box in a zoo, and return to the jungle where you were called to be wild. We wait with anticipation.