It was before the workday had begun, while the day-laborers milled around the front door of their employer’s home, when the two strangers approached. “Whose colt is this?” one of the men asked as he eyed a sturdy young donkey tethered to a post outside the walled residence. It belonged to their boss, the workers informed the strangers. “We need to borrow it for a while,” the two said and began to untie the rope on the animal’s halter. Confused glances exchanged among the workers, hesitant to voice opposition yet concerned that a rather bold theft might be taking place in plain view. Perhaps their employer knew these men, perhaps not. And wouldn’t the donkey be needed for their work that day? One of the older of the crowd finally stepped forward and demanded some answers. Others immediately joined in with a barrage of questions. The owner, hearing the commotion in the street, appeared at the front gate. It was clear from the sudden silence that fell over the group that he was not only the owner of the animal but of the business upon which these men’s livelihood depended. One of the strangers approached the owner and offered the following explanation: “The Lord has need of your donkey. Jesus of Galilee, whom we believe to be the Messiah Israel has long awaited, instructed us to come to your house and ask for the use of this particular colt. He wants to ride on it as he comes into Jerusalem today. It’s in fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophesy.”
“The Lord wants my donkey? I’m honored!” smiled the owner and handed the halter rope to the disciples. Then turning, he went back into his house and disappeared from history. We never even got his name. This property owner from a town on the outskirts of Jerusalem had an asset Jesus needed to fulfill a divine purpose. It was not a very costly offering, just a day’s investment of an asset he used in making his living, but a very significant one.
And so it has been down through history — God using the ordinary assets of ordinary men and women to accomplish divine purposes. Oh, there are the bigger-than-life giants of the faith — the Moses’ who deliver Israel from captivity and the Nehemiah’s who rebuild Jerusalem — but for the most part the story has been carried along by normal folk who have been asked to place in the service of their Lord their assets and natural talents.
Like Billy Mitchell, successful real estate developer, who tried to retire to his home in the mountains but heard a whispering in his spirit to use his skills to take on the devastating mortgage foreclosure crisis in South Atlanta. His “donkey” — the asset that has served his career well — is his deal-making ability. The Lord had need of his donkey for a few days (actually quite a few days) and Billy simply responded “My donkey, Lord? I’m honored.”
And like Bob ***** (he wants to remain anonymous), a superb designer of buildings and interiors, who quietly offered his skills to convert a liquor store that blighted a community into an attractive ministry center that graced the community. His donkey’s name is design. And the Lord had need of it.
Donkeys have many names. Design and deal-making are but two. Mechanic, accounting, teaching, organizing… the list is almost endless. Remember the fellows who were recognized for their scheme to get their crippled buddy an audience with Jesus? The plan was hatched by an idea guy, Initiator, who talked four of his friends into being co-conspirators. They recruited a merchant friend, Investor, who agreed to supply the stretcher, rope, and tools to remove roof tile. The four strong-backs, Implementers, hoisted their impaired friend up to the rooftop aboard the borrowed stretcher and lowered him by the ropes through the hole in the roof that they had opened up. Their strategy, if it worked, would attract Jesus’ attention, elicit His healing touch, and their friend would walk out on his own two legs. It worked! These ordinary guys using their natural talents accomplished a divine mission worthy of honorable mention in the permanent manuscript of sacred history.
Got a donkey that the Lord has need of?