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The Guy with the Donkey

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The Guy with the Donkey  
Matthew 21:1-11    
Our scripture lesson for today tells about a donkey that performed very well. This was the donkey whose colt gave Jesus a ride into Jerusalem at the head of a parade. I'm curious about the fellow who owned this donkey. We are not told his name or his profession or how he came to know Jesus. All we know is what he gave.  He loaned his donkey and colt to Jesus. Hundreds of years earlier the prophet Zechariah had predicted that the coming Messiah would make a triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Listen to his words: "Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and sitting on a donkey..." (Zechariah 9:9)  The guy with the donkey made it possible for that scripture to be fulfilled. When I get to heaven I want to talk to that guy with the donkey. I want to ask him a few things: "How did you get to know Jesus?   Did he tell you in advance that he might need your donkey? When those two disciples took the halters of your donkey and its colt and said, 'The Lord needs them,' were those the code words agreed upon earlier?  Did you know what he was going to do with your donkey? When the Master finished using your donkey and sent it back to you, was it different in any way?"
Now, a question for us: Did you know that we are supposed to be donkey-givers too? I doubt that any of us actually owns a donkey, but we have some things that the Master could use. Some of us, this preacher excluded, can sing a song harmoniously.  Some choir needs us. Some are very winsome in reaching out to unchurched persons. Some of us can operate a computer or teach a class or organize a capital funds campaign or coach soccer or repair a leaking roof or make a caring phone call. All of us have something which, if given to the Lord, will help him enter another city or another heart.  That Texas preacher and writer, Max Lucado, claims that the guy with the donkey is one in a long line of folks who gave little things to a big God. Scripture has quite a gallery of donkey-givers. One day by the Sea of Galilee, thousands of people wanted to hear the words of life from the lips of Jesus. He needed a platform from which to speak to that throng. There was a boat close by, right at water's edge. One of Jesus' disciples probably approached the owner of the boat and asked, "Would it be alright if Jesus sits in your boat while he addresses these people?"  And the owner said, "He's welcome to use my boat." That boat owner was a donkey-giver, so to speak. Later, Jesus was addressing another vast throng on a hillside. They had listened for hours and were craving to hear more. But it had been a long time since their last meal.  Stomachs were growling and children were whining. The disciple Philip found a teenaged boy who had two small pickled fish and five loaves of barley bread.  Philip asked him, "Are you willing to give your lunch basket to Jesus?" "Gladly," said the boy, never dreaming that he and 10,000 other people would eat from that lunch basket which miraculously was never emptied.  That boy was a donkey-giver. Later, when the shadow of an awful cross was lengthening ominously and tension was building toward a crescendo, Jesus needed a day off, a quiet day, a 24-hour relief from the crowds.  Mary and Martha and Lazarus, long-time friends of Jesus in Bethany, gave him their home and hospitality. Mary especially honored him with her sensitive listening and caring conversation. Jesus was blessed by a family of donkey-givers.  Then, on that momentous crucifixion day when the skies were darkened at noon in a heartbreaking spasm of the solar system, Jesus dragged a heavy cross toward the place of execution. His loss of blood and sleep had sapped his strength. He collapsed beneath that splintery cross.  His face was battered into the filth of the hard path, filling his mouth with grit and blood. Then a Roman soldier, eager to get this grisly business finished, tapped a stranger on the shoulder and said, "Pick up that cross and carry it for him." Simon didn't have much choice in the matter.  But for the rest of eternity he will rejoice that he lent his shoulder and his strength to bear the Master's cross. He too was a donkey-giver.
This guy with the donkey. He is one of a large fraternity and sorority. People are still giving things to the Master so that he can move his kingdom farther down the road. You cannot be in relationship with Jesus and not be on mission. Jesus said, "As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." (John 20:21) Every soldier in the United States military forces can instantly tell you his or her MOS. That stands for "military occupation specialty." That's your job in the military, whether it be a rifleman, a cook, a communications officer, a medic, or a chaplain. Every servant of Jesus Christ ought to be able to tell anyone at any time his or her Kingdom MOS.  What is your current duty station as a part of the church of Jesus Christ? A great bishop of our church, Ernest Fitzgerald, who transferred to heaven about a year ago, used to say, "If you do what you can, with what you have, where you are, then you can't be a failure."  Some of you may want some scriptural authority for what I've been telling you. Some of you are like a husband I heard about who told his wife that housework was woman's work and he would not help with it unless she could find a Bible verse that commended that kind of work to a man.  That wife prayed and went to work on her Bible. Before long she came to him with her Bible open to II Kings 21:13, where we read: "God says, 'I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipes a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down.'" That husband picked up his dishcloth and headed for the kitchen.
Let me give you some scripture to back up my claim that all of us Christians are ministers or donkey-givers. St. Paul said to the Romans, "We (meaning all of us) have different gifts, according to the grace given us." (Romans 12:6) To the Corinthians he wrote this: "Now to each the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good." (I Cor. 12:7)  Then Paul listed some of an endless list of spiritual gifts--preaching, teaching, giving, leadership, compassion, wisdom, healing, hospitality, service, and evangelism. What's your gift? Are you using it for his glory?  There are many wonderful persons in Christ Church who have taken on the task of …..(add)No special talents needed. But God is glorified because … thanks to these dedicated, faithful people. What's your gift? Have you identified it? Are you using it? Are you a donkey-giver? The gift you have in your heart is your way of lending your donkey to the Savior.  One day an older woman, a bank executive, was walking past one of the offices at the bank. She glanced in and saw a young woman sitting at her desk, crying. The executive went in to see if she could help. "Nothing's that bad," she said. "Tell me about it."  The younger woman explained: "My mother died about a month ago. Just this past weekend I became engaged. We have planned a June wedding. But I don't know the first thing to do, and I don't have a mother to help me." "Oh yes you do," said the executive. "I'll be your mother!" As they hugged each other, an incredible friendship was born--all because one person saw two things: a hurting person and a ministry that she could provide. Jesus Christ lives at that glorious intersection of a human need and your giftedness.  When God's call is answered by your willingness, miracles happen! Five hundred years from now, as we delight in the glory of God's kingdom, we will not even remember how much money we earned on earth or how big our houses were or whether we had much status or popularity. But we will celebrate forever every single donkey which we loaned to the Master! IFSH

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