Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What can you Learn from a Donkey?

Isn't it ironic who we can learn life changing lessons from? The teacher can come in all shapes and sizes, there are many lessons to be learned, but it is up to the student to be humble enough to learn them.

Now, who would have ever thought a donkey would be a teacher?  We can all learn a valuable lesson from the story of Balaam's donkey found in Numbers 22.  To give a little back up info on the story, there is a man name Balak and he is real mad at the children of Israel.  Balak goes to another man named Balaam, in hopes that Balaam will curse the children of Israel. 

Balaam is a God fearing man so he asks what he should do in this situation (just like we all should when a decision arises).  He gets his answer, do not curse the children of Israel.  While Balaam tells Balak he is sorry but he can not help him.  Balak continues to try to persuade him to change his mind by way of offering him wealth, riches, and power.

Balaam is having a pretty tough time resisting this offer.  He goes to the Lord a few times to see if the answer will change.  Surprisingly it does, but it has a slight catch, Balaam is to go with them, but he is to only say what the Lord wants him to.

Next morning the men show up, and Balaam agrees to go with them.  He saddles up his donkey and a way they go.  Ask they are riding along the idea of wealth and power is rollin' around in Balaam's head, and soon his desires begin to change.  The idea crosses his mind maybe he could slightly fool God, he would obey and go but once there he would chase after the desires of his heart.

Now God is no dummy, and can not have a fast one pulled on him.  God sends a angel to reassure that Balaam would stay on his original course, but for one reason or another Balaam is unable to see the angel (maybe he is to caught up in himself or lost in his own desires) but lucky for Balaam his faithful little donkey can see the angel with sword drawn blocking the path. 

To save Balaam, the donkey makes a sharp turn to avoid the destroying angel.  Balaam frustrated and almost embarrassed tries to force the donkey back on the path.  Again the donkey sees the angel and narrowly dodges it.  This continues on until the donkey ends up smashing Balaams foot into a wall in attempts to keep him safe from the angel.

After the impact Balaam is thrown from the donkey.  In rage he (Balaam) whacked the donkey as it lay exhausted on the grown.  Before this unfair and undeserved punishment takes place the Lord allows the donkey to speak.

In disappointment the donkey speaks out " what have I done to you?  why are you hitting me?" 

Consumed by rage Balaam responds "If I had a sword I would kill you with it."

Most likely heart broken and ashamed by this time the donkey asks "Am I not your donkey, who you have ridden since the day you bought me?  What have I ever done to you?!"

Now slightly caught off guard by his donkey's response, Balaam stops for a moment.  Within that same moment of personal reflection and replaying back his relationship with his donkey the Lord opened Balaam's eyes allowing him to see the angel.

The angel goes on to rebuke Balaam and says basically "it is thanks to your donkey that you are still alive, for if you had continued on your journey I would have spared the donkey and taken your life."  Balaam falls to the ground pleading for forgiveness.

Lucky this story ended happy, and Balaam was able to open his eyes before it was to late.  Too many times though God sends "Donkeys" into our lives.  For one reason or another we are not willing to learn from them, even though they have suck with us through thick and thin, and have always had our best interest in mind. 

These "Donkeys"  can be a loving parent, best friend, hopeful leaders, or even a prophet of God.  Let us not get blinded by our own desires and miss out on these lessons or life saving warnings that these humble messengers ("Donkeys") sent by God for us.  Please do not take advantage of the "Donkeys" in our own lives, show appreciation to all those who God has sent to help us through this crazy life.

I would just like to send out a personal shout out of appreciation to my "Donkeys"!  Mom, Dad, Trish, Tara, Luke, Kate, Court, JayDee, Trevor, Keeta, Britta, Miranda, Colby, Alex, my friends, close loved ones, and countless leaders/teachers I have had I am grateful for you still sticking by me even when my eyes were closed like Balaams.  THANK YOU for being my Donkeys.

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