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Working The Donkey

As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. Luke 19:36

I meet well-meaning business people who give their businesses to Jesus and then enter a passive mode. “Whatever he wants to happen will happen. I’ve given it to God.” They surrender the donkey, then trail behind it, rather than going ahead. In this passage, however, the good spot to be was in front of the donkey, not behind it. Luke tells the story of Jesus sending his disciples to get the colt needed for the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. When Jesus took over the use of this business asset—the donkey—it was surrendered to him by the owner. He then put it to a new use. It seems that events began with two things: an action by the apostles, and surrender by the business leader. Thereafter it includes a series of proactive steps that are anything but passive. What could this mean to the business owner?

  • Expect apostles to come along who will challenge you to yield your assets for greater purposes. “They brought it to Jesus…” 
  • Make sure they bless your business by placing a covering of prayer, a mantle of endorsement on it. “…threw their cloaks on it…”
  • Place Jesus in the driver’s seat of your business. “…and put Jesus on it.” (v 35)
  • Walk ahead of the donkey, declaring it has a new owner and marveling at the miracles he does. “The whole crowd of disciples began to joyfully praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen.” (v 37)
  • Don’t be passive about your business; faith without works is not faith at all. Transferring ownership is not the same as abdicating responsibility. In fact, donkey-stewards have no less a responsibility than donkey owners. 
  • Surrender the colt, don’t slaughter it.

I have seen too many business people at the wrong end of the donkey, aimlessly following their businesses around dry fields rather than leading them down a purposeful road because they “don’t want to get in the way of what Jesus is doing.” They rationalize it as being faith-based, but it is more likely fate-based. They don’t want to “get ahead of God” or “do things out of the flesh.” They inadvertently end up collecting manure. God would rather that we go ahead of the donkey proclaiming its new owner, establish his presence through praise, and make sure the donkey gets to the intended destination.

Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord.

Of course, the analogy has flaws but the point is, that being in business with God requires a deliberate collaboration, not a fatalistic inactivity. He wants to develop us as friends who are in business with him, as junior partners, not as hapless donkey followers. They got the colt, they put their cloaks on it, they put Jesus on it, they joyfully praised God in a loud voice. Sure, Jesus did the hard part, but they still had things to do.

Reflections 

  • Ask yourself, “Am I being overly passive about my business, or am I being faith-filled?

  • Am I getting out ahead of the donkey with planning, presence-building, and partnering, or am I just waiting to see where the ass ends up?

  • Do I have faith with works or just faith with pipe dreams?”
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