When I was growing up, I had a friend who had a donkey. I remember a group of us playing in the field, looking for frogs and lizards, stomping in the creek, and then deciding it would be a fun idea to ride the donkey — the donkey that until now, had not been ridden.
Do you remember things you did as a kid that seemed like a good idea at the time?
The donkey was sweet-natured, sturdy looking and friendly. I’d ridden horses and figured this wouldn’t be much different. Bareback and no reins — a good call, right?
After we coaxed the donkey near a stump so I could get on, we were on the move. I looked at the rock-strewn uneven pasture whizzing underneath and thought I should do all I could to stay on the donkey. I hadn’t expected this wild ride. Legs clamped, handfuls of a coarse stubby mane, and a greatly enhanced prayer life. No matter how wild the ride, I didn’t want to be bucked off.
“Go into that village over there,” he told them. “As you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks, ‘Why are you untying that colt?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it.’” So they went and found the colt, just as Jesus had said. And sure enough, as they were untying it, the owners asked them, “Why are you untying that colt?” And the disciples simply replied, “The Lord needs it.” So they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it for him to ride on. As he rode along, the crowds spread out their garments on the road ahead of him. When he reached the place where the road started down the Mount of Olives, all of his followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen. Luke 19:30-37
Jesus entered the community in a way that, unless you knew the messianic prophesies, no one was expecting. And I believe he is asking his church to follow his lead. He is doing a new thing, using new methods and innovative ideas to meet needs and touch the hearts of people. And he wants us to do the same.
Why? Because he’s passionately in love with each one of us. What will communication of his love look like? I don’t know all the things he has planned, but it’s going to be amazing and everyone will know it’s God when things are happening.
Think about when Jesus came riding in on an unbroken donkey colt — that the donkey even let Him ride was a miracle, especially given all that was going on. As I was reading through the book of Luke, it made me curious about donkeys, so I did a little research: Donkeys carry burdens of greater weight in proportion to their size than any other animal. In Biblical times donkeys were considered beautiful, strong, swift and surefooted. But riding a donkey was despised. It put the rider below those riding tall, majestic horses. For Jesus Christ to enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey was a sign of his humility. When Jesus sent them to get the colt, he knew the impact that would have on people and what he was communicating to the religious leaders. He wanted to enter on something that had not been “tried.” Even though it didn’t seem as though it would work, it did because it was God’s idea.
I know there are God-given ideas people have to impact a community, but some have been hesitant because the ideas haven’t been done. I encourage you to try it. Jesus unexpectedly entered Jerusalem riding on an unbroken donkey colt that had God guiding it. Christians, are you willing to do the same? Humbly carry the presence of Jesus, no matter what it looks like? Without the pomp and circumstance of warhorses and chariots, but surefooted, beautiful and wise because we’re where we’re supposed to be, doing what we are called to do for everyone the Lord brings across our paths? Everyone has questions about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Buried in those questions is an authentic and desperate pursuit of truth — truth you you can build your life upon. Until we’re willing to humbly carry the real Jesus with passionate love for people, those questions will remain unanswered. No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
Jesus cared so much he laid down his life for those he loves.
I’m excited about this year. I know God has amazing plans for all of us to think and act “outside the box” of how we’ve lived and shared life in the past. If you have a relationship with Christ, are you willing to carry the real Jesus? If we’re doing it right, it might end up being a wild ride, but don’t allow that to make you quit. It is so worth it to hang on and do whatever God calls you to do. If you don’t yet have a relationship with God, are you willing to respond when he touches your heart? He has an amazing and wild life planned for you, are you up for the ride?
The Rev. Mikki Jones pastors Grace Christian Center wth her husband, the Rev. Dave Jones. Pastors in the U-B circulation area who want to write a column should call Catherine Hicks at 509-526-8312 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.