I know that’s a tacky title for a quick devotional here, but hear me out please. I am not talking about Brighty of the Grand Canyon or Christians on the Denver Broncos; I am talking about you and me. We need to be donkeys for Jesus.
What is the Great Commission? Make disciples who make disciples. Go, baptize, and teach them everything, including the fact that they should then make disciples who make disciples. This encompasses everything Jesus taught his disciples, and it should encompass everything that we should do, parenting, work, play, marriage, throwing the Frisbee, or slopping the hogs included.
There are many disciple making heroes in the Bible that you could model your efforts after, Jesus Himself being the most significant. But as much as he represents, and in fact IS perfection, there are others who represent the next right step on the way toward being like him. So, for those of us who are less than perfect, may I suggest that you become more like the donkey on your way to becoming more like the Lord?
Os Guinness says it this way: “Balaam’s ass is the patron saint of apologists.” What does he mean? Well, the dumb beast simply pointed out the impending danger and urged Balaam to turn around. The Apostle Peter reviewed that story from the book of Numbers and said in 2 Peter 2:15–16 (ESV)…. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness. Balaam was headed this way, and the donkey spoke up for God and said, “Uh, you’re a madman. Head the other way.”
Defending the honor and integrity of God means telling people, as tactfully as a donkey might, that they need to repent and head the other way. Read the encounter in Numbers 22. I have no idea how much said donkey really loved Balaam, but it seems that he was at least a loyal enough beast that he could appeal to the fact that he’d never done anything but been a good donkey to him and didn’t deserve the beating he had received from his frustrated master. “Open your eyes and look where you’re headed.” Our passion for God’s honor and our love for those who are trotting headlong into the death angel’s sword should compel us, at least, to engage in a little donkey talk and lovingly, tactfully, whimsically, but faithfully urge people to “Repent or else!” Love for God and love for others should entail at LEAST this much.
Most of the time, when somebody refers to you as a donkey in no uncertain terms, you don’t take it as encouragement. Let this time be a little different. Be a donkey that speaks up, as uncharacteristic as that might be for you, and lovingly let people know that God is worth loving and his people are worth serving. If you would turn around and head the other way toward Christ, you would find that what the donkey said is true. And if God could speak through a donkey, well, then there’s hope for you and me.