I sat bewildered at my desk as I held the head in my hands. It was about three-quarters the size of a real head and made of very heavy wood. My uncle had brought it to me wondering if I could identify it; he had found it among my late grandfather's possessions.
I took Hermeneutics, Greek, Hebrew, Logic, Homiletics, Apologetics and many other similar classes on the way to my doctorate in theology. I never did manage to take a class on "identifying odd wooden heads," and thus was not much help to him.
My grandfather was a genius and also rather eclectic. His collection of oddities is, well, odd. It may be that he, for some reason, picked the head up in Korea during the war. It does seem to have an oriental look about it.
But my question is: Why? Why an odd wooden head? Since he died some years ago, and my grandmother as well, we have no one to ask and no way to know. He and I shared an intellectual bent, but he did not seem to have so much as an ounce of my utterly mischievous sense of humor. That being the case, I doubt seriously that he did as I might have done, buying it for no reason but to make future generations scratch their heads and waste their time investigating a significance that does not exist.
No, my grandfather had a very good reason to buy an odd wooden head. I just have no idea what that reason was.
It is funny, though, that as I sat at my desk a few moments ago again musing on that head, I happened to look up on top of my shelf and see one of my own oddities, a very black African-American preacher statue, complete with lovely clerical robes and a gold chain. My office displays a great many of the items I have collected through the years: rocks and minerals, fossils, historical artifacts, old books, antiques, basically anything that really captured my attention.
But among them all, that statue has raised more eyebrows and prompted more questions than anything else I have in my office. I have no doubt that, if I do not pass the information down to my children, one day one of them will likely be bringing it into someone else's office and saying, "We found this in my dad's stuff; do you have any idea what it is or why he had it?"
There is a story to it.
A few years ago, our church divided up into teams and went out Christmas caroling for shut-ins. Our group ended up in a neighborhood a few miles from church, and we knocked on the door of a neighbor of one of our members, a lady who has been mostly homebound for years. We sang several songs, prayed with her and were rewarded with tears of joy and happiness from a sweet lady who was thrilled that, since she could not come to church, church came to her.
A few weeks later, our member brought me the statue. Seeing my bewilderment as she handed it to me, she said, "Um, this is from my neighbor. She sent it to you as a thank-you for coming to sing for her."
Seeing that I was not one bit less confused, she continued. "It was dark, and with your dark tan and dark hair " Her voice trailed off, and I erupted in peals of laughter. I literally laughed till my sides hurt. Then I wrote the lady a lovely thank-you note for the statue and told our member never to tell her that I am actually not African-American.
And now you know why I have a black preacher statue on a shelf in my office.
In Matthew 22:12, a king prepared a wedding. When he went out to meet the guests, he saw something that was not right. He said, "Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment?" The verse then says, "And he was speechless." There simply was no good explanation. You see, the king supplied every guest with the right garments. To not be wearing it meant that you chose not to receive it.
There are many odd things that actually have a good explanation. But there are some odd things for which there will never be a good explanation. Rejecting Christ will never have a good explanation, since he died for everyone and wants everyone to be saved (2 Corinthians 5:14-15, 2 Peter 3:9). A saved person not actually living like a child of God will never have a good explanation, since he gives every saved person the power to do so (Galatians 2:20). A Christian not working at winning souls will never have a good explanation, since he has given that command to us as the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). A person not living like Christ will surely return will never have a good explanation, since he has promised to return (John 14:1-3).
A wooden head and a black preacher statue? Those can have good explanations. The other list I gave will just leave us speechless before the King.
Bo Wagner is pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, North Carolina, a widely traveled evangelist and author of several books available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.