Updated: Jul 29
Have you ever heard someone say, “it’s not the gift, but the thought that counts”? In the case of the donkey
needed for Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, it was not the thought but the obedience that counted.
Jesus sent His disciples to town with specific directions about a donkey and her colt. They were told if anyone asked why they were taking it, to tell them “The Lord has need of them.” (Matthew 21:3)
I’ve read this passage many times and never got past just thinking “Okay, Jesus jacked some poor fellow’s donkey because old testament prophecy said He should.” But then I read And the Angels Were Silent by Max Lucado and came away with an entirely new point of view.
First, since everything we have really does belong to God, it was His donkey in the first place.
But second, the donkey’s possessor didn’t try to offer God something else instead. He didn’t say “But wouldn’t you rather have this bigger, stronger donkey (after all this was a mother and her colt, neither would have been in prime working ability) or one that has been trained?” He also didn’t try to make the donkey anything other than just what it was. The owner didn’t ask for time to give the donkey a bath and tie a ribbon on its tail, or throw a fancy blanket—you know, one fit for the Lord—on its back.
The Lord needed his donkey…and the man gave it.
Okay, this post really isn’t about donkeys. It’s about the unique gifts God gives to each of us. Just like the donkey carried Jesus forward, in the same way our gifts are to be used to carry Jesus forward here on earth. Our giftings and our talents are our donkeys. And it may be today or someday in the future, but one day the Lord will send word that He needs our donkey.
Is your gift/donkey cooking? The Lord needs your donkey to bless someone with the food you prepare. Is your gift/donkey hugging? The Lord needs your donkey to carry His love to the heart of someone who needs to feel that love. Is your gift/donkey singing, teaching, or writing? The Lord needs your donkey to carry His message to the broken and the lost.
But hold on before you saddle up your smelly little beast of burden and head out, remember the enemy is against this. He knows you have a willing heart and are ready to give. His goal is to keep that from happening. And he’ll use the standards of the world to do it. Be prepared.
The voice in your ear may say something like this… “That’s the donkey your going to give the Lord? He smells horrible. He isn’t trained in carrying something of such importance on his back. He’s really not very strong/attractive/intelligent. Nope, that donkey needs a lot of work or perfecting before he’s good enough to carry the Lord anywhere. Offer the Lord something else instead. Or tell Him you need more time to get your donkey ready.”
While it is true that we have an obligation to take care of our donkeys, making sure they are in good condition—ready to go when God says now—we also have to trust God knows what He’s doing when He tells us He needs our donkey. When the Lord sends word that He needs our donkey, He is aware of exactly what He’s getting.
The donkey owner in Matthew isn’t the one God sent to take the donkey to Jesus. He isn’t the one who provided the covering on the donkey’s back for Jesus to sit on. You may have to let go of your donkey so others can fulfill their roles in God’s plan as well.
It’s also important to know what your donkey is and what isn’t? Words are my donkey…written words. I love expressing thoughts and ideas through written words, but I’m a horrible singer. Vocal expression is definitely not my donkey. Now Satan loves to remind me my writing isn’t perfect and all the other inexhaustible list of reasons why this is a waste of time. But God gave me my donkey and named it Words.
In obedience, I tie my donkey to the front porch—I write blogs like this one—and I wait to hear “The Lord needs your donkey.”
When it comes to traveling, there are lots of ways to get from one place to another. But only our Lord and Savior would take a pitiful little donkey and turn it into the Grand Marshal’s float in the Kingdom parade.
What is your donkey and what is not your donkey? Are you ready to let your donkey be used to carry the Lord forward?
Now I release my donkey to you. Feel free to lead him forward by sharing my blog posts with others. Visit my website www.lorialtebaumer.com to read more.