Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member
I imagine most of you know way more about donkeys than I do. All I know is that I have met a couple of them when I go to one of the houses for Journey Group on Sunday nights. I find them to be the gentlest and sweetest creatures I have met since we have moved out here. When I stop to pet my two friends I sometimes think that it is no wonder Jesus picked a donkey to make his final entrance into Jerusalem before his crucifixion. Jesus said to His disciples, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matt. 11:29.
I had a lesson in meekness the other day that I would like to share with you. I had a “chance” (it was from the Lord, actually) encounter with one of our leaders in the ministry. Now, I truly love this leader and have considered him my friend for more than 20 years. I was cleaning up our break room about 5 PM when he came in to get some hot water for a little tea. I haven’t really talked to this leader in a long time and have missed those opportunities. In all honesty, this has been a source of frustration and sometimes discouragement for me. I have also known what this brother has been a lot of stress and has been very busy working on this project for nearly two years now. I try to pray for him when I see him in the hallways or whenever he comes to mind, which is often.
So while he was getting his tea we spent a couple minutes talking. He asked how I was doing and, in so many words, I said I am tired physically, emotionally and mentally. He basically said the same thing about himself, which of course I knew. We continued talking for a few minutes and I asked him a couple questions. Somehow in our talk, I mentioned to him that the best part of my job was getting prayer requests from donors that I write to and praying for them. I told him I have a little “ministry” of my own just doing that and that it has been a blessing to me and to them. My friend was quite encouraged to hear this and was glad that I mentioned it to him. We walked down the hall a bit and stopped. I prayed for him and he for me, then we parted ways.
I walked away from this meeting concerned for my friend but feeling encouraged from the encounter. I had a new desire to not be weary in praying for him. But I was also feeling chastised by the Lord. What my friend didn’t know was how selfish and angry I had been feeling all week. I asked myself what it takes to get out of selfishness and to think about others more than yourself. Basically I was wondering how a person like me could ever live out Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
If there is one thing I have learned from reading the Bible and especially the life of Jesus, is that He highly regards humility in our lives. Jesus is the sacrificial lamb. He demonstrated His humility by washing the disciple’s feet and then told them, now that He went back to the Father, to wash one another’s feet. The King chose a donkey to ride into town with rather than a white stallion. How can I miss such a demonstration of humility from Jesus and have such trouble getting rid of my own selfishness? I wish I could talk to my donkey friends about this. If I could I would ask them how they handle this problem. I wonder what they would tell me?
I think some of the answer can be learned from looking at Matthew 11:29 that I quoted above. Here Jesus talks about humble service. First He says take my yoke on yourself. I believe this means that we need to humbly submit ourselves to His will and turn every area of our lives over to Him. Then He says learn from Me. As we surrender ourselves to Him, He will train us in His ways. Jesus has already sent the Holy Spirit to give us the power to live in a way that pleases God. Third, Jesus says that He is gentle and lowly. He demonstrated that throughout His life here on earth. If we take this low road, we too will be gentle and lowly. Finally, Jesus says we will find rest for our souls. I think I just need to quote one of my commentator friends here, “Here it is not the rest of Conscience but the rest of heart that is found by taking the lowest place before God and man. It is also the rest that one experiences in the service of Christ when he stops trying to be great” (William MacDonald). Please know that what this does not mean that there won’t problems, trials, labor and hurt. But by taking the yoke of Jesus, we have someone who will always walk with us. “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
So, are you struggling with selfishness like I am? If so, may I suggest that you don’t quit seeking the Lord in this? We need to face selfishness as a sin just like any other sin. While it is true that some personality temperaments are more prone to this than others toward selfishness, that does not excuse us from seeking God and humbly asking Him to change us…keep seeking to be humble and faithful. In other words, BE A DONKEY!!