“IF I HAVE A DONKEY”                                              By Pastor YAU

Matthew 21:1-11                                                              April 16, 2006

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)     I have a few questions: In the Easter devotional booklet written by popular writer Max Lucado and others, Mr. Lucado said, “When I get to heaven I want to meet the guy who owned the donkey. I have several questions for him. How were you sure it was Jesus who needed a donkey? Why did Jesus ask for ‘your’ donkey? How did you feel to look out and see Jesus on the back of the donkey that was so dear to you? Were you proud? Were you annoyed? Were you aware that all four Gospel writers would tell your story?

2)     In his own words: Mr. Lucado continued to ask: “Was it difficult to give Jesus something he needs to use?” He confessed that sometimes it was difficult for him to do that. He said, “Sometimes when God wants something (from me) I act like I don’t know He needs that. Then I feel bad because I’ve missed my chance. And other times, too few times, I hear Him and I obey Him and feel honored that a gift of mine had been used to carry Jesus into other places.” You and I have something in our lives which if given back to God could, like the donkey, carry Jesus and His story into some hearts, homes, cities or even nations.

 

THE SETTING OF THE STORY:

1)    It was the last chance: From the biblical records we know that this was the last time Jesus entered the City of Jerusalem. Some had called it the Triumphal Entry because of the festive welcome, vv. 6-11, or because that was the place where Jesus was crucified, rose from the dead and ascended to heaven. If anyone would like to give something to Jesus or do something for Him, it was the last chance to do so. If we just know that this is the last chance to give or to do things for Jesus most of us would give or do our best to Him or for Him. Our problem is we always think that we can do it tomorrow. No one is sure there will be a tomorrow.

2)    It was a poor village: Unlike Bethlehem or Bethel, big names in the Bible, Bethphage, meaning “house of unripe figs”, was a small and poor little village located on the hillside of Mount Olives near Bethany on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. In Jesus’ time, figs were one of the main food stuff for the people. When a place even figs won’t grow to their ripen stage, you can imagine how poor it must be. What strikes me is with all the near by much larger, richer and more popular places around, what made Jesus picked this little poor village to provide Him the donkey on which He rode to the festive reception that followed. Often times many of us would argue that we just have too little, too inadequate, too weak, too busy, too poor, and many more too this and too that, we have nothing to offer to Jesus when He has needs of us. But that was not on His mind when He sent his disciples to find a donkey for Him in this poor place. He will never ask anything from us which we don’t have.

3)    Jesus wanted them all: The donkey was with her colt, her baby, when Jesus asked for its use. Knowing that it was not good for the colt to be separated from the mother, Jesus asked the disciples to bring “them” to Him: both the mother donkey and her colt. The amazing thing was that the owner allowed the disciples to take both the donkey and her colt “because the Lord needs them.” (v.2) Most of us may be willing to give the Lord “some” of the things that are dear to our hearts, but have problem when He asks for all: our total surrender and sacrifice. We all agree that God deserves more than just “leftovers”, but that is most likely we are willing to give Him. Jesus had poured out the last drop of His blood to save us from sin. He deserves all that we may have and nothing less.

4)    It was a marvelous honor: If anyone could know before hand that this donkey would be used to carry Jesus into Jerusalem with such a fan fair welcome as recorded in this chapter, most of us would be so willing to do that. We may be pretty certain that the donkey owner in that little poor village would have never dreamed of such an event involved his humble gift to the Lord. Even though no one had ever mentioned his name, his timely gift to Jesus had received the most marvelous honor to carry the King of all kings into the Holy City. No one could ever imagine how much the Lord may do with the little gifts we are willing to give. Look at what a wonder Jesus did with the humble lunch given by that little boy to feed the five thousand.

 

BUT I DON’T HAVE A DONKEY: You may say that now I live in a city and don’t have a donkey, what can I give to Jesus to carry Him into places He wants to go? That depends on your imagination. Let me give a few suggestions to help you make that decision:

1)   You may give when there is a need: In order to fulfill the prophecy in the Old Testament, Jesus needed to ride a donkey into Jerusalem this last time before He was crucified. There were other times when He entered the city without riding a donkey. It is a need that was met that counst. If you are keen to the needs around you, be it the people, the church, your friends, in the family, at work or in school, you always can find the opportunity to show your love and kindness to someone, do something, help meet some needs, give to a worthy cause, etc. If you keep your eyes and heart open, you will see needs all around you and you can give to meet them.

2)   You may give even when you have little: Too often we make excuses not to give because we only have little or have less than the other guy. It was not the rich men who poured into the temple treasury that caught the attention of Jesus but the two little mites given by that poor widow that got the praise of the Lord because she had given all that she had. (Mark 12:43-44) I am not asking that we all give everything we have, but to be poor or have less than others is never a Christian excuse not to give to our utmost. It is not the gift that impresses Jesus. It is the heart of giving. Poor or rich is always a relative issue. Either you think you are poor or rich, we all need to give all we can and have when duties call. To shut out your heart because you think you are poor in not a Christian way.

3)   You may want to give Him your best: I believe most Christians want to give God something but I also believe very few want to give Him their best. Most of us will give God as long as it doesn’t cost us too much. The reason history honors Abraham as the “Father of faith” is because he was willing to give God his best, his only son. I understand we all have our priorities and purpose for life. We all treasure things we see as important to our lives. But where do we put God in our possessions and priority? If God can give His best, His only Son, to save us, what things can we give to show Him our thankfulness? To give God our leftover is contempt.

4)   Your gift may bring all the glory: No one believes that the owner of the donkey had fore knowledge of the glamorous entrance with the Messiah on the back of his donkey, and the story would be recorded in history by all four Gospel writers. Just as that little boy who gave the Lord his simple lunch never knew that it could feed the 5,000 in the wilderness. We don’t know how much the Lord may use what we are willing and happy to give Him and the results He may bring for His glory. Remember the song: Thank You for Giving to the Lord? It is until we are in heaven then we may see the glorious results of our giving.

 

YES, WE ALL HAVE OUR DONKEYS: Here are some modern day donkeys we all have and can give to God:

1)    We can give Him our heart: This is the first and the foremost. God sees our inside lot more than our outside. He wants to see our attitude, our reason, our thoughts and intention and our love. The heart represents our love. How much do we truly love Him in our heart will be seen on how much we are willing to give Him.  

2)    We can give Him our time: Life is measured by time: hours, days, months and years. When we give God our time, we give Him our lives. Besides the necessities such as work, school and rest, the amount of time we give to God and His courses represents the amount of love to have for Him. We all have time for things we deem as important. If God is important to you, you always have time for Him.

3)    We can give Him our service: For a life to be meaningful it must be spent in service to others. We serve our family, friends people at work, at church, in the community and sometimes the nation. It is through serving others we develop and expand our value of life. We can do the same to God. While serving people is noble, serving God is superior. We can serve Him through our personal time with Him each day, reading His word and praying to Him. We can also serve Him through doing things in His church. Your imagination is the limit as to what you may do to serve God.

4)    We can give God our resources: I am talking about monitory resource. This is a real test of faith and love we claim we have for God. We all will be willing to spend on our loved ones sometimes even beyond our ability because of our love to them. How much we love God shows on how much we give to Him monetarily. To give tithe is a good starting point to show Him you trust Him and love Him. All the money and things we give to God through His church will be on our crowns in heaven.

 

CONCLUSION:

1)     Easter is about giving: God gave the world His only son Jesus at Christmas and Jesus gave the world His life at Easter. If it were no giving, there won’t be Christmas or Easter. Easter is also a time of giving by the donkey’s owner so Jesus could ride into Jerusalem where He was crucified. It is also a time for us to give to God.

2)     Giving should be our spirit: While we celebrate the ultimate giving of God in Jesus, we ought to find ways to give back to Him now and the in the days to come. It is through giving we become instruments God may use to reach others for His Kingdom. Gifts of love, time, service and material possessions are ways to carry Jesus and His message of salvation to more people and places.

3)     Accept God’s gift: The purpose God gave the world His only Son is “that whoever believes in Him should not perish but will have everlasting life.” God gave His Son, Jesus, for you to save you and give you eternal life. There is no better time to accept that gift than on Easter Sunday. If you have never accept Jesus before, you may invite Him into your life now.