Keys to the Kingdom
By Carolyn Tucker
I heard the following statement years ago and thought it was rather humorous: When God was handing out brains, there were some who misunderstood and thought He said trains, so they politely responded, “No thanks, I’ll take the next one.” Or how about this colloquialism: “He doesn’t know his head from a hole in the ground.” I’ve heard that it’s OK to say stuff like this as long as you conclude it with “bless his heart.“
In the book of Mark, we find King Herod, his wife Herodias, her daughter Salome, and John the Baptist in a showdown. On Herod’s birthday he hosted a stag party and invited his nobles, military commanders, and the leading men of Galilee. For their entertainment, Salome came in and really cut a rug. All the men were fascinated and greatly pleased with her razzle-dazzle dancing performance. “Ask me for anything you like,” the king said to the girl, “and I will give it to you.” He even vowed, “I will give you whatever you ask, up to half my kingdom!” She went out and asked her mother, “What should I ask for?” Her mother told her, “Ask for the head of John the Baptist!” So the girl hurried back to the king and told him, “I want the head of John the Baptist, right now, on a tray!” (Mark 6:22-25 NLT).
I think it‘s odd that a young girl couldn’t immediately rattle off a dozen or so things she’d like to have. Most women have an internal wish list. I can think of a hundred things she could have asked for — shoes, a lifetime supply of chocolate truffles, her own dance studio, etc. I really don’t think Salome should have asked her mother for advice. Herodias was obviously filled with hatred for John, so her head wasn’t on straight and her heart was like a prune. Because Salome didn’t use her own head, all she got out of the king’s rash vow was a grisly dance trophy to give to her mother. Herodias and Salome were both guilty of murdering John the Baptist, a good, righteous, and holy man. You can get into more trouble than you can shake a stick at by taking the wrong advice.
Be very careful when you ask for advice. If his/her own life’s a mess, that would be your first clue to take the next train. “If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get His help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought“ (James 1:5,6 MSG). Wisdom doesn’t come from acquiring information, but rather from God Himself as He generously gives practical and spiritual insight for the asking. He doesn’t scold us because we’re sometimes thick headed; instead God kindly enables us to make wise decisions.
“For by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory” (Proverbs 24:6 ESV). I put this verse into practice when we were planning, designing, and decorating for my daughter’s wedding in 2009. I prayed for wisdom and then I chose four girlfriends to help me wage the decorating war and we got it done smoothly and quickly. Mom always said, “Two heads are better than one.” However, it depends on whom the head belongs for that to be actually true. So choose wisely. Salome chose her mother’s head, which caused poor John to lose his.
The Key: Don’t hang out with dum-dums — it‘s just too dangerous.