Monday, August 13, 2018

When Jesus Wants Your Donkey

How often do we sense that God's calling is "now and forever?" We (or maybe just I) tend to think that if I agree to give up this or do that, I have to be really serious because it's a permanent decision. That kind of thinking keeps us from obedience and joy. When God removes something we love, we often fight and flail. (I realize there are incredible losses we face--the death of a spouse, child, or loved one. That is not what this entry is referring to.) It might be an opportunity, job, object, or idea we're particularly attached to. Have you ever told God, "No," because you're not willing to part with some temporary, earthly object? I have.

I wondered about that as I read this passage this morning:

As they approached Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples, and said to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it and bring it here. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ you say, ‘The Lord has need of it’; and immediately he will send it back here.” They went away and found a colt tied at the door, outside in the street; and they untied it. Some of the bystanders were saying to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They spoke to them just as Jesus had told them, and they gave them permission. They brought the colt to Jesus and put their coats on it; and He sat on it. And many spread their coats in the road, and others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields. Those who went in front and those who followed were shouting:

Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord;
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David;
Hosanna in the highest!”

Jesus entered Jerusalem and came into the temple; and after looking around at everything, He left for Bethany with the twelve, since it was already late. (Mark 11:1-11).

If you're like me, this is a familiar passage. But today I wondered about the bystanders and owner of the colt. "Jesus has need of it." Jesus didn't steal it. He didn't pay for it. He didn't keep it. He used it for His purpose and returned it. The owner, and those who lent it, trusted Jesus. They didn't know how long He would need it or why. But if Jesus said He needed it, it was for a good purpose: prophetic, incredible, wonderful, historic, God-ward. Temporary.

Too often we balk at doing things for Jesus--or giving them up--as if it's for the rest of our lives. But in giving, we not only find joy and deep satisfaction, we may discover He has a simple, short-lived purpose. His plan always glorifies His Father in Heaven. The question is, do you trust Him? Do I?

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full." (John 15:1-11)

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