I have been sick for a couple of days. Today I went to the doc and got a shot for an upper respiratory infection. I refuse to be sick this coming weekend because I am speaking three times in Ash Flat, Ar.
I don’t know if it is wise or not, but what I am writing for a book is the theme/ substance of the lessons I have been developing.
Can you tell I am excited? I am.
Here’s one originally titled To Be or Not To Be… A Donkey!
Maybe you have seen them from time to time.
I took one that said my type was a social director. But I don’t have a social life, so who are they kidding?
Another style of personality tests compares people to four specific animals: the lion, the beaver, the otter, and the dog (golden retriever).
Surely I would be a lion? No such luck. I am an otter. At least I am not a dog. No comments allowed from the peanut gallery-at least about that!
And since we are doing comparisons here, what kind of an animal would we want to be representative of our church?
My first inclination would be a lion. I want to be a part of a church that is strong and bold and courageous and powerful.
Sounds good until you think about it a little differently. Jesus is already the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. His roar has already vanquished sin and death. His boldness and strength is what we should depend on, not our own.
So what animal should we be?
How about a donkey?
Please put politics aside for the moment. Please repress any desire to make a joke or any other allusions to what being a donkey might mean… it’s really important for the life of our church to get this point.
Did I say important? How about extremely vital?
This past Sunday was the grand opening of our new building/ location. It was a great day. 261 were in attendance. We had lots of visitors-some of whom I feel confident will one day call our church family their own. But last Sunday was not the end of a process–no, not the end by an imagination. Instead, it was the stepping off point to new opportunities, new dreams, new visions, and even new struggles and faith challenges. We cannot rest on our laurels when the Lion of the Tribe of Judah is waiting to lead us forward.
And that brings us to the idea of using a donkey to describe us.
I read a recent article by Rick Rusaw that was adapted from the book The Externally-Focused Church. Take a close look at what he says…
Riding a donkey, Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. The crowds cheered and shouted praises to Him. They lopped off palm fronds and laid them on the ground for the donkey to walk on. When they ran out of palm branches, they gladly laid their own cloaks on the ground and, walking ahead of Jesus and the donkey, shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9). For a moment, the donkey perhaps thought it was all about him; after all, he was doing all the work that morning. But it wasn’t about him. It had nothing to do with him. He was simply carrying the Message.
The externally focused church is a “good donkey” that takes Jesus into places where He hasn’t always been welcome. The serving church is just the method. It’s still all about Jesus.
Any changes you see in what we do or how we do it are not changes for change sake.
You see, like the donkey, it’s not about me. Nor is it about you.
It is, however, about Jesus. It is about the lost. It is about the community around us.
Never in a million years would I have imagined myself saying this. And like I mentioned earlier, I hope you will restrain yourself from making jokes because I am deadly serious. I pray that you will be also. I want to be a donkey. I want to be a good donkey. I want our church to have the stubborn tenacious strength of a donkey-a donkey whose purpose, who’s sole reason for existence is to carry the message of Jesus into hearts and lives where it has not always been welcomed. If it means being different or looking different for the sake of the gospel, then so be it.
One final thought, take a look at what I call my personal ministry mission statement. It works well for preachers. It works well for churches determined to be a good donkey…
1 Corinthians 9:19-23,
Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
….I hope this new ministry allows me to be a good donkey to those who are hurting, doubting, questioning, angry, and fearful…