A Donkey-Fetching Thriller
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your King is coming to you;
He is just and having salvation,
Lowly and riding on a donkey,
A colt, the foal of a donkey.” ~ Zechariah 9:9
I enjoy a good mystery novel. Thrillers? I’m not as well-read in that area. I read some in graduate school, but life is suspenseful enough for me. I don’t need the heebeegeebees scared out of me. I like reading book endings so I know how everything falls in to place. I am often amused at God’s sense of humor – because He knows that I want the plot summary and I know He wants me to grow in faith enough that I don’t desire the plot summary. So – no I’m not a Thriller girl, but I do remember the first thriller I ever read – and it is one of my very favorite bible stories: The story of the two disciples Jesus sent to fetch a donkey in a village where they were not residing. It had me on pins and needles.
Maybe by the time Jesus sent them to fetch the donkey, these two disciples were used to being in suspenseful situations that created excitement, even fear. After all, they’d seen Jesus take seven loves and two fishes – and turn them into more than enough to feed 5,000.
The feeding of 5,000 as a 4th or 5th grader didn’t impress me much then. My grandmother had always cooked supper, filling our stomachs with enough. I didn’t understand hunger.
While I loved the miracles of blind eyes seeing, the lame walking, possessed people being set free, Lazarus being raised from the dead – I hadn’t experienced yet losing a loved one to disease or cancer. I didn’t know what it was like to be blind – and I didn’t know anyone who was, nor had I any experience with broken bones and crippling diseases.
I already knew that Jesus’ death led to His resurrection – so there was no cliff-hanger there.
Looking back I realize I was storing all these stories in my soul – and as I met life’s challenges, each of these miracles did come alive in so many ways. . . but back in 4th of 5th grade, the fetching of a donkey was a story that had me in its grip.
You see, I knew what it felt like when I broke rules – rules I knew or didn’t realize. I had experienced that kind of trouble. I can’t say I was so much a people pleaser as I was a punishment dodger, evader, circumventer. I grew to love rules because rule- following allowed me to sidestep strife, suffering, tribulations – face-to-face reckonings of my not measuring up, my getting something all wrong.
I will admit, rule-following didn’t relieve all my anxieties and stress about “getting into trouble.” It just prevented anyone else from contributing to that anxiety and stress. Doing Something Wrong was a monster that felt like failure, felt like unlovableness, felt like unworthiness.
The Story of Disciples Donkey Fetching spoke to those anxieties and stresses. You know the story:
“Now when they drew near Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples; and He said to them, ‘Go into the village opposite you; and as soon as you have entered it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has sat. Loose it and bring it. And if anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it,’ and immediately he will send it here.’ So they went their way. . .” ~ Mark 11:1-3
In 4th or 5th grade, our class was preparing for Palm Sunday. I must have been reading ahead because I became lost in the story. I don’t know what the weather was like outside my school, but in the story, it was a robin’s egg blue sky morning with sun that warmed the coolness against your skin the way it does on a 67 degrees Spring Tennessee morning. The two disciples, in my imagination, walked to the opposite village in that kind of morning sunshine.
They were just supposed to go, take hold of its bridle or rope – and take it – whether anyone spoke to them or not.
I didn’t see it being an enjoyable, savoring walk, though. My pores twitched and tingled to the task ahead – excitement, fear, doubt. My heart beat a little faster than normal. Did theirs?
Would they get caught? Get in trouble? Be sent to jail?
Pins and Needles, friends! Because getting in trouble was my greatest fear – whether I’d done anything or not. Whether the trouble was caused by perception or truth.
I can still see and fill that sunshine today – and envision the two disciples walking.
Were they too big for a switch from Grandmother’s Forsythia bush in bloom? Could they be thrown in jail. I’d seen the movie Ben Hur – I knew what Roman jails looked like. Did the two talk about the potential trouble? Or were they silent, faux-stoic braggadocious. . . I don’t even think I understood there was such a thing as faithful assurance in my pre-30-year-old spiritual toolbox – much less a pre-10 spiritual toolbox. I certainly didn’t understand how completely the cattle on a thousand hills were Hist ( Psalm 50:10b).
Pins and Needles. . .
No asking for permission. No following any Emily Post’s Rules of Etiquette in Taking and Transactions.
I wondered if they talked about who would do what. Whether they played Paper, Rock, Scissors or “the Nose Goes” to determine who would loosen the colt? Did they flip a coin? Would they both walk up together or would one hang back. . . just in case. Maybe one would do the talking and the other would do the loosening? Were they nervous. . . or did they walk up to the animal like they owned it?
What would you have done? How would you have done it?
Would you have felt like you were walking on pins and needles?
“So they went their way and found the colt tied by the door outside on the street, and they loosed it.” ~ Mark 11: 4
When they saw the colt, did they feel the need to tread more quietly as if they should sneaking? Or did they walk right up like they owned the beast? Was it a walk-by-faith confidence – or were they still learning?
Did they look left and right, raise their eyebrows to each other, sigh and whisper, “Let’s do this” right before they loosed the rope? Was it Faithful Assurance or Blind Hope?
“But some of those who stood there said to them, ‘What are you doing, loosing the colt?’” ~ Mark 11:5
As that eight or nine year old little girl, reading ahead in the classroom, lost in my first thriller story, I probably stopped breathing at the moment those standing around spoke. Caught in the act. Trouble’s Coming. They were caught and I was caught in the grip!
“And they spoke to them just as Jesus had commanded.” ~ Mark 11: 6a
Have you ever been sent on an errand – sent from one person of authority to another person of authority – and you feel caught in the middle, like an expendable foot soldier from some battle in 1462? No-one ever wants to return to the one who has authority over you with a, “No.” Were they confident The Master’s authority would carry the day?
“ ‘The Lord has need of it,’” they repeated. Would you have answered with conviction? Assurance?
“and immediately he will send it here.” – Those standing there – how did they know? That’s a Rest-of-The-Story I want to hear about one day.
. . . So they let them go.” ~ Mark 11:6
Did the two apostles walk away, leading the colt, looking straight ahead, counting their steps, feeling the eyes of those who questioned them, those standing there noticing. Were they wondering “are we really going to get away with it?”
Did they talk along the dirt road, amazed, that strangers didn’t cry, “Thief.”
Did they feel that same way – or were they so used to Jesus saying and it was so, that they executed the task with unabashed confidence? Were they stoic in not looking back to see if they were being followed? Had they learned their lesson from Lot’s wife or Jesus. After all, the Holy Spirit hadn’t been given to them yet.
My spiritual tool-box has grown since then. I am not only more equipped but more trained in the tools of faith Jesus gave us – more equipped and less in the grip of fear, the unknown, the how’s and why’s I don’t need to know. I know that if He asks it, I can do it.
Matthew Henry explains it well, “It is a comfort to Christ’s messengers that they shall bring what they are sent for, if indeed the Lord has occasion for it.”
Donkey-fetching tasks, commissioned by God, have the ability to usher the Messiah, not just into Jerusalem, but into the heart’s of those He came to save. Never under-estimate the tasks to which He calls us or His power applied to complete them. The disciples were willing. God did the rest. We just need to be willing to step into the thriller story – even if it’s just a thriller to fetch a donkey.
“Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their clothes on it, and He sat on it. And many spread their clothes on the road, and others cut down leafy branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David
That comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest!’”~ Mark 11: 7-10
Remember Me Monday: #89 & Link-up
“I’ll make a list of God’s gracious dealings,
all the things God has done that need praising,
All the generous bounties of God,
his great goodness to the family of Israel—
. love extravagant.”
~ Isaiah 63:7, The Message
In the Old Testament, God repeatedly, quietly and loudly, tells his children, “You have forgotten me!” (Jeremiah 3:32, Ezekiel 22:12, to name a few). It’s a heart cry from a father to a child who has forgotten all the love, all the saving, helping, little and big blessings – and it leaves me stunned when I realize our Father, the creator of the universe, who knows things I cannot begin to fathom, who authors storylines that leave me amazed, delights in all of us so much, He cries out, “Remember Me.”
While every day is a Remember God Day, I am inviting you to join me on Monday mornings to come by and remember what God has done for you, for your family. Maybe God sent a cardinal darting out in front of you, as if to tell you, “I’m here,” or broke a child’s fever after you laid it all down at His feet in a 2 a.m. bedside vigil. Maybe He stood with you in the wait of a prayer sent out, or brought someone you loved to Christ. Maybe He healed your broken heart, gave your courage, or you gave Him your dreams as a love offering only to have Him give them back in an unimaginable way. Maybe God helped you survive to bedtime after a crazy Monday, or forgive yourself for missing it with your kiddos –– Whatever it is, let’s Remember Him. . . in a “Remember Me Monday” love letter.
“My mouth will tell of your righteousness,
Of your salvation all the day long,
Though I know not its measure.
I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign Lord”
~ Psalm 71:15-16.
Let us delight in Him by telling the stories of what He’s done! If you wrote a blog post remembering what He’s done for you, join the linky. If you didn’t but still want to praise Him for what He’s done – write it in the comment section. Then visit a comment before or after yours! One of the beautiful things about the blogging community is the relationships it builds!
Rules? Write long or short, a list or a story, include photos or not. Just Remember Him and what He has done, and let the gratitude of your heart guide you. Let’s make Monday so Rejoice, that the goodness of God spills into the rest of the week!
Places I’m Linking at This Week:
Inspire Me Monday, Instaencouragements,
Legacy Link-Up, Recharge Wednesday
Faith on Fire, Tell His Story, Grace&Truth
Let’s Have Coffee Wednesday Celebrate Your Story
Scripture&Snapshot, Sunday Scripture Blessing
“Donkey-fetching tasks, commissioned by God, have the ability to usher the Messiah, not just into Jerusalem, but into the heart’s of those He came to save.” This is such a powerful statement, Maryleigh, and one I will be thinking on today.
This story has me both on pins and needles and laughing that even at 60-years-old, I still feel the fear that they will be caught and put in jail for stealing a donkey! And, it awes me, that they weren’t.
You brought the story to life, Maryleigh! I wish this was in a ‘collection of stories’ book to read aloud to children. It’s definitely a keeper!
Thank you, Lisa! I’m actually working on organizing my writing for my children, and that was one of the groupings I have organized my content in to. I will definitely work on including this one! You’ve made my heart smile!
I don’t know that I gave a whole lot of thought to the anxiety the disciples might have been feeling at just TAKING a donkey! Or what they might have been feeling as they walked away with the donkey, just as Jesus had said. I know from personal experience that it’s possible to think, “I can’t believe that just happened!!” and “I knew God would come through! I knew it!” at the same time, so I wonder if that’s what they did. God is faithful! Good lesson today, thanks for sharing!
There’s so much the disciples learned those two years of Jesus’ ministry – growing in faith for miracles was one of them. Maybe by then it was so everyday, that they weren’t unsure. They hadn’t been filled with the Holy Spirit yet, which empowers us to overcome our fears and so much more. Peter does deny Christ only a week later. I know as a 4th or 5th grader, I was on pins and needles and was awed that they just went up and took a donkey. Today, I think I could have responded like you suggest, but most likely not when I was 30. I had a lot of growing to do.
Maryleigh you brought that story alive & from a perception I’ve never viewed from before! Thank you!
Unfortuately for a long time now I haven’t been able to join you here for the LINKUP as for some unknown & very frustrating reason the Linky Tool that’s here just won’t allow me my posts up.
Visiting from Anita’s today where we’re neighbours. 😊
Bless you, Jennifer
I’m so sorry, Jennifer, that you are unable to link up. I’m checking with my link services to see if they can figure it out. It’s always a blessing, though, when you stop by. SHalom, my friend, in your Easter season.
You are such a powerful, descriptive writer. Your writing just draws me right in. Thank you for hosting the link-up and for all you do. May the blessings of God rest on you continually!
Thank you, Cheryl, for your sweet encouragement! May the blessings of God rest on you continually, also. Shalom and thanks for coming by!
Maryleigh, I read the endings of books for the same reason you do. 🙂 I loved your play-by-play of this familiar story … you definitely made it come alive! And this word of encouragement was just what I need today: “Never under-estimate the tasks to which He calls us or His power applied to complete them. The disciples were willing. God did the rest. We just need to be willing to step into the thriller story – even if it’s just a thriller to fetch a donkey.” Blessings to you, my friend.
There needs to be a book club just for people who read the book endings first – because they we can discuss as we go through the book the effectiveness of the clues along the way without spoiling it for those who don’t read the end first! LOL Every Palm Sunday, I think of my 4th/5th grade response – and find myself still amazed at how they walked that out – so for the last few years, I have been wanting to write about it – and this year, at the end of the two months God didn’t want me to write, but just be still with Him – He gave me the words for this. It made my heart glad. Thanks so much for stopping by and reading – and finding encouragement! Shalom, my friend!
I love your take on the story. You sure brought it alive. I’m not one for thrillers. But I have to say that when I’m reading some Bible stories I find myself “on the edge of my seat” so to speak, my heart races then I’m like phew God’s got it.
Thank you bunches for sharing this with Sweet Tea & Friends this month my friend.
The bible is full of these pins-and-needles faith stories – so many thrillers leaving both of us on the edge of our seats. I will admit, some never lose that thriller edge! Thanks so much for coming by and reading, Paula!!! Shalom!
What a funny title! And as always, a lovely post.
Your fun title drew me in and the story captivated me. I’d never considered the viewpoint of the disciples in this scenario.