As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them,
“Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them.
They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on.
A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” (Matthew 21:1-11)
This passage of Scripture has always had a special place in my heart. It reminds me of a Sunday night service in a small country church when I was only seven years old. I remember sitting near the front with my parents watching attentively as a traveling Bible College ministry team sang, performed skits, and talked about their school. After their presentation, their leader preached a message about this passage. Specifically, he spoke about the fact that Jesus needed a donkey. He said, “Without the donkey, Jesus could not make what we now refer to as ‘The Triumphal Entry’”. The donkey was necessary so that prophecy could be fulfilled. In the prelude to Jesus' trial, His crucifixion, and ultimately His resurrection—leading into the events that would change the state of life and death for all of eternity—-the one thing Jesus needed was a common, ordinary, load-bearing donkey. So He sent His disciples on a mission: Go here and get this donkey. If anyone asks why you are taking the donkey say, “The Lord needs them.”
With those words, the donkey’s owner gave the disciples the donkey and answered Jesus’ call. I remember the speaker comparing those who were listening to the donkey and saying “The Lord needs you. Will you answer His call?" At the end of his sermon, he gave an altar call for anyone who wanted to dedicate themselves to answer God’s call. I remember practically running to the altar to answer the call, as the Holy Spirit moved on my heart. From that moment on, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had made a commitment to answer God’s call on my life no matter what it may be. I even took one of their brochures (which was ridiculous since it would be a decade until I would need it). Still, I held on to that piece of paper for years to remember that special night and my commitment. The funny thing is that as the years went by and I grew older, I began to imagine what God’s calling on my life would look like. Because I’m a dreamer, I can assure you that my visions were quite grandiose, filled with success, fame, popularity, and adventure. It took many years for me to learn one of the key truths about answering God’s call, that is: God calls us to be donkeys.
I know, that sounds a little funny, but follow me on this. One of the biggest things that keeps too many Christians from fully walking in and enjoying their God-given calling is that they are constantly waiting for “the big moment”. They are waiting for “the big job”, “the big promotion”, the day that everyone recognizes their talents, praises their abilities, and realizes that they really are God’s gift to the kingdom of God, if not the world. Until that happens, they wait. Usually, they whine.
And they wonder, “Why isn’t God using me the way that I think He should?” Meanwhile, they are missing every opportunity that God gives them to “be a donkey”. -To serve. - To give. - To play a supporting role in the kingdom of God. - To bring glory to God while they go completely unnoticed. I mean, think about it: Jesus chose the donkey to serve Him and play a role in one of the most popular passages of Scripture—the Triumphal Entry. Throughout Christianity, there is an entire Sunday dedicated to Palm Sunday. And yet, when they entered Jerusalem, no one was saying, “Check out that donkey.” No, all eyes were on Jesus. They were praising Jesus, looking at Jesus, celebrating Jesus. All the donkey did was carry Jesus—almost completely unnoticed. He did his job well. He played his role. But really, he just did what was expected of a donkey. What I’ve learned as I’ve matured from a seven-year-old girl into a grown, mature women is that as important as it is to follow the donkey’s example and answer Jesus’ call, it’s equally, if not more important, that we follow the donkey’s example and do whatever Jesus asks us to do as a humble servant. Like the donkey, we aren’t called to look for notoriety or fame. We are called to serve. We are called to support. We are called to carry the load and do the work that God has given us to do so that God can receive all of the glory. This attitude is absolutely essential for everyone who wants to do “whatever it takes” to live a life worthy of their calling. We need to choose to be a donkey. To answer God’s call and play our part, remembering that the focus is on Jesus and not on us. It’s like the parable that Jesus told in Luke 17:7-10:
Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep.
Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’?
Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’?
Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do?
So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say,
‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’”
So this Sunday as you read the story of the Triumphal Entry and begin your commemoration of this holy week, I challenge you to ask yourself, “Am I willing to be like the donkey?" Will I answer the call to serve?
Will I do whatever it takes—no matter what—to humbly play my part in serving Jesus?
Are you willing to be a donkey? --Adessa
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry.