One of my favorite storybooks to read aloud has a part where the absent-minded Mr. Pig accidently drives away in Soldier Rabbit’s Jeep instead of his own car. My favorite part of reading the story is indulging in what the poor rabbit is saying as Mr. Pig drives away. I use a weak incredulity, with the voice of a performer who is watching another go off the script.
“Hey,” he says. “That’s… that’s my Jeep you’re taking. You’re driving away in my Jeep. Hey, you’re… taking my Jeep. Hey, that’s my Jeep. Hey.”
I wonder if that’s how the owner of the donkey colt felt when a couple of strangers came, untied his animal and began to take it away.
“Hey, you’re taking my donkey. That’s my foal of a donkey you’re untying and taking… hey.”
And the answer they gave him was this: “The Lord needs it.”
Here is where the owner of the animal had a choice. He could go along with God’s plan, for it had been prophesied in the Old Testament that The Messiah would ride into Jerusalem on a colt, the foal of a donkey. If Old Testament prophesy said it would happen, there was no stopping it. Or the man could have argued and tried to prevent it from happening. But he didn’t and the disciples were able to bring the donkey to Jesus.
So did God bend the will of the owner? I don’t think so. If the owner of the animal had not agreed to let his donkey go, something may have happened. But God’s plan was for the donkey to be there, and the owner of the animal choose to let the donkey go. By doing that, he was aligned with God’s plan.
Meanwhile, the donkey colt showed perfect submission. Where God needed him, he went. He carried a burden without fuss and without any pride. People waved palm fronds and shouted praise, the donkey knew it wasn’t for him. He went forward in complete obedience with the plan God had for him.
Compared to the folks Jesus met later that week, the ones who were convinced that they wanted nothing to do with Jesus or his will, who were the real Jackasses?
God has a plan for me and my life. It may be giving up something because The Lord needs it. It may be the least of services, carrying a weight and letting God get all the glory. Regardless of what it is though, I want to be a part of it and not be the one with a hardened heart, a stubborn person. I’ve used the word once, you know what I mean.
I’d like to think that at the end of the day, the man got his donkey back. (I’m sure there’s an apocryphal fiction story there, that I’d enjoy writing.) I can only imagine that the man was blessed for giving to God. The blessing wasn’t a reward for obedience, or something material. It was the kind of blessing I want, a blessing that comes from being on God’s side.
Submission or stubbornness, it’s my choice. Donkey or, well you know.