A friend of mine has a horse that just foaled. I was amused to watch the excitement with which my friend anticipated the arrival of this special little creature. She shared with me photographs of the new arrival, and described the anxiety of the moment and the exhilaration of accomplishment when the precious package was delivered. She has posted online numerous pictures of the quickly developing filly and her mother, obviously enamored with what admittedly is a beautiful little buckskin. As I listened again to the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem in the customary readings of Palm Sunday (Matthew 21:1-7, Mark 11:1-10, Luke 19:28-35, John 12:12-16), this woman and her horse came to mind when I heard the account of the donkey colt.
30 “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’” Luke 19:30-31 NIV
Imagine for a moment that your family has a prized donkey colt. This one is new. No one has ever ridden it before. You recognize that, for most people, a donkey is little more than a beast of burden, perhaps one of the lowliest of domestic animals, but you also know that it is a symbol of peace, the customary mount on which visiting ambassadors enter royal cities, in contrast to the magnificent war horses ridden by battle champions. You take the precious little guy to town, maybe because you are engaged in bonding and training, maybe because you want to show him off, or maybe because you just can’t stand to leave him at home. Maybe he is your meal ticket, and you were hoping to sell him for a price that could sustain your family for the season to come. Suddenly, strangers begin to untie your pride and joy. Your instinct is to apprehend the thieves and turn them over to be executed for livestock theft, but your devotion to the Lord makes you pause long enough to ask one question, “Why are you untying the colt?”
You aren’t prepared for the answer, “The Lord needs it.”
Like a flash, you remember how you began your day. As always, you consecrated yourself to the Lord, thanking Him for all you have, and devoted yourself and your resources to His service. Your desire is for your property, your instincts are to protect what is yours, but your devotion is to seek and capitalize every opportunity to serve God with anything and everything that you have. But your new colt? You didn’t see that coming! Surely God wouldn’t ask you to give up your prized baby?
Okay, so not many of us are donkey ranchers or even own livestock other than our house-pets, but after hearing this story in my head today, I was left with this question:
WHAT IS YOUR DONKEY COLT?
When I figure that out, will I be able to get past the next question that always seems to accompany pain and disappointment, “Why?” Why are you untying my colt? Will I be willing to let go? The Lord has need of my life and my resources. Whatever I am and have comes from Him and belongs to Him. The problem is that so much of what I have distracts me from my true purpose: that of loving God and sharing His love with others, of doing God’s will as He orchestrated before I even arrived.
10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10 NIV
Will I give up my prized television, or will I be too busy watching it to know that it is needed? Will I give up my deluded sense of security and welcome a stranger? Will I give up my plenty so someone in need can have enough? Will I give up my ease to comfort the distressed? Will I give up my way so God’s will can be done?
What is your donkey colt? What does the Lord need of you? Are you stuck in the “Why?” or are you surrendering even your reserved resources for His purpose?