All roar and no bite- Hollywood’s Leo the lion seems harmless enough

Maybe you heard about the two rednecks who went on safari. They were sitting comfortably in the shade of a tree one afternoon when a huge African lion came along, looked directly at them, and roared loudly.

“Let’s get out of here,” one screamed.

“Are you kidding me,” said the other. “I want to watch the movie.”

That, of course, is a reference to Leo the lion, the mascot for Hollywood’s MGM studio. He has become a familiar face to movie watchers everywhere. We’ve seen him so often, we have begun to think of him as entirely harmless. Familiarity can do, even with the king of beasts.

It’s not at all unusual to read newspaper articles about people who grew familiar with an exotic pet, thinking they have formed a loving relationship only to be bitten or mauled or killed. You might remember the chimpanzee that made news several years ago when it went berserk and attacked a Connecticut woman, leaving her in critical condition, even though the monkey had been living peaceably among people for many years.

Truth is, we’re surrounded by dangers every day. Routine things, like driving to work, is dangerous. So is taking a bath, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reports about 235,000 people a year go to hospitals because of falls in their bathrooms.

The Bible tells us to be on alert. “One who is wise is cautious … but a fool is reckless and careless” (Proverbs 14:16).

That’s not to say we should shut ourselves up in our homes, and never take baths. To the contrary, we need to embrace the abundant life promised to all believers. That promise allows us to walk in boldness, because our confidence is in the Lord who will never leave us nor forsake us.

So, if ever we’re on safari and encounter an African lion, what should you do? Run for your life? Or watch the movie?

It probably won’t matter. A lion is fast enough to catch us and eat us whether we run or whether we foolishly sit and wait for the movie to start.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on our own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Roger Alford offers words of encouragement to residents of America’s heartland. Reach him at

*Feature photo from MGM