Sixty-eight-year-old African conservationists Wes Matthewson ran a popular safari known as “Tree Top Lodge” in Africa. On the property he kept two beautiful white lionesses he had raised from cubs. Weighing in at 400 pounds each, Wes kept the lionesses locked in a paddock most of the time. In 2017 they had escaped and mauled a man to death who was working at a neighboring property. Still, Matthewson kept the lionesses he loved and, as demonstrated in the pictures on-line, they loved him in their own way. Nonetheless, as it had previously, the time came when lions do what lions do and in August last year the unsuspecting conservationist opened their cage as usual to take them out for a walk. In a moment, one lion turned on the other and then in a flash both turned on savagely mauled Wes Matthewson to death in front of his horrified wife Gill, who was following along behind her husband and his beloved lions in a vehicle. She was of course powerless to stop the lions from killing him. Their daughter later said that the mauling could have been nothing more than ‘rough housing’ that got out of hand. There is no telling how many times Wes had reached down and opened that gate latch, but as with all such cases, when it was least expected, the last time came. I am sure that if Wes Matthewson had known his beloved lions would turn and kill him, he would NOT have opened that cage. Maybe you are thinking “well pastor, no one told him, no one warned him”. I would argue that the lions themselves warned everyone in January 2020 during their escape, when they killed a man collecting firewood. 1st Peter 5:8 tells us “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”. Sadly, we all know someone who has their own lions in a cage and they’ve nurtured, fed, and loved them. They think their (sin) lions love them as well and that their lion would never turn on them; that it would never destroy their loved ones or wreck their life. They’ve loved on it, exposed their wives to it, exposed their children to it. There are pictures of Wes’s children and grandchildren sitting with the lions all happy and unsuspecting. Now there is no grandfather, no father, no husband. Despite the warnings, despite the obvious danger, despite the previous death Matthewson defended his lions like a parent defending a rebellious teen. How much this reminds me of those who have been warned to get rid of the drugs, get rid of the booze, get rid of the reckless behavior, turn from the adultery, repent of the rebellion, and pride and kneel before the cross. Wes was sure of his control over the lions. He was certain of their love and often said “these lions are gentle and loving”. Sir, Ma’am one of these days that little innocent sin you keep patting on the head is going to prove to you what it really is. Will it be you? Will it be your wife? Will it be your children who open the latch? Calvary Baptist Church is a Fundamental Independent Old fashioned King James Bible believing church across from Pizza Hut on the loop in Palestine. Visit us on the web at www.Calvarybcpalestine.com Please pray for our church in this time of moral Crises in America and during these days of pandemic. Call us at 903-729-5924. We urge you to let us hear from you!