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A Donkey's Life

Palm Sunday is almost upon us, and if you’re familiar at all with the Easter Story, it’s a familiar scene. People laying palm branches down and celebrating Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem while riding on the back of a donkey. Wait a minute! Did I say donkey? Surely Jesus was more fitting to ride in on a beautiful white stallion, or even a decked-out camel, but no, Jesus, the Messiah, comes, as predicted in the Old Testament, upon a donkey.

I recently watched the movie “The Star” which is the Nativity Story told through the eyes of the animals… mainly Bo the donkey. This got me thinking about what the donkey may have been thinking during Jesus’ triumphant entry that we celebrate on Palm Sunday. Just like in “The Star” this young donkey, a colt, was part of God’s plan. Don’t you think if God can use a stubborn little donkey in the triumphant fulfillment of His plan, then maybe He’s got a plan for us too. The question I’d like to throw out to you today is “How does a donkey become fit for the service of the King of kings?" and "How can we be made useful for Him too?”

There are three things that made this donkey fit for royal service, and they are equally important for us.

I. The Donkey Was Selected


A. Jesus had a plan for this donkey

Matthew 21:1-3 “ And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them..”

Clearly Jesus had chosen this particular colt. He didn’t ask the disciples to find just any donkey, He had specifically chosen this donkey for a noble purpose.

B. God had a plan for this donkey.

550 years earlier Zechariah had prophesied about this little donkey.

"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass." Zechariah 9:9

So God had a plan way back then, and this donkey was to play a part. God has selected us too:

John 15:16 "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last."

Ephesians 2:10 - "For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

We have been chosen not only for blessing, but for service. You may not be a king or even a Sunday School teacher, but God knows you by name and he has a plan for you to serve him. He has prepared in advance good works for you to do.

II. The Donkey Was Sanctified

A. By Preservation

Mark 11:2 "you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden."

This donkey was described as young and that no one had ever ridden him before. It was as if he had been saved for this particular job, separated from worldly duties to fulfill his place in God’s plan. We also need to preserve our time and energy from worldly things to use for God’s work. So often we give him the leftovers of our life when He desires our first fruits.

2 Timothy 2:21 "If a man cleanses himself from [wickedness], he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work."

B. By Preparation

Matthew 21:7 "They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them."

This donkey was prepared for the Lord’s use. We also need to prepare ourselves to work for the Lord. Spending time with the Lord in Prayer and studying His Word prepares us for His use and allows the Holy Spirit to work in us to sanctify us for His service

1 Peter 3:15 "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."

2 Timothy 2:15 "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth."

III. The Donkey Was Satisfied

A. To Present Himself

It is a known fact that I like to ride horses. But even with my experience of riding for 35 years, I would not jump onto an unbroken horse, let alone an unbroken donkey. Donkey’s are known for their stubbornness and not exactly known for their laid-back submissiveness. But note that this donkey (unbroken) presents himself to the master to be used. He didn’t make the excuses: “I don’t have the training” or “I don’t know how’, or even “Get another donkey to do it” like so many people do when called. He willingly submitted himself for God’s work.

B. To Exalt the Master

In spite of the great triumphant entry of Jesus, the donkey's job was just a

little part. His job was to lift Jesus up so that He could be seen by the crowds. He didn’t try to make himself any more significant. He was content and perfectly happy exalting Jesus while humbly doing his part.

Jesus warned us in His sermon on the mount not to be like the religious people who did their good deeds to be seen by men, the good works that the Lord has prepared in advance for us are works that bring glory to His name and not our own. Like the donkey, we must be satisfied with a humble part in God’s plan.

Galatians 6:13 "May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ."

As much as I love horses, I really have never cared for donkeys at all. They are stubborn, and in my opinion not that pretty, but I have friends who just love them. To me it says more that Jesus chose a lowly donkey instead of a white stallion (THAT I would have loved). It means more to me because looking at myself I am surely not white stallion caliber, maybe not even old gray mare caliber, but it great knowing that even us lowly donkeys have a part in God’s grand plan. We have been selected by Him to fulfill a part of His plan prepared in advance for you and we need to sanctify ourselves to help ourselves follow through on the plan and we need to be satisfied to exalt the Messiah up!


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