And here, when the need is for a donkey, the disciples sent are also told what signs to look for:
How did Jesus know they will find a donkey as soon as they enter the next village? And that the donkey’s owner will respond affirmatively to the notion that “the Lord” needed the animals? That means he was someone who knew Jesus to be Adonai, the Lord, not just Master and Teacher.
In the Bible,we find a principle at work: that God provides what God needs to accomplish God’s mission, whether it’s stables, rooms, loaves and fish, donkeys – or tombs. AND we see that God relies upon human beings to collaborate in that mission if it is to bear fruit. Theoretically the man with the donkeys could have refused, or asked a fee, or the man with the guest room say, “It’s already rented.”
Can you think of a time when you’ve received provision unexpectedly as you went about God’s work? I bet that’s a story to tell… who needs to hear it?
And how would you respond if something as precious as livestock or a car were asked of you?
What do you sense God asking you to lend at this time in your life? Time? Family? A skill or talent? A house, or money? I’m not asking what you have to offer – I’m asking what you sense the Holy Spirit asking for. It could be that there isn’t anything… or it could be that we need to inquire, to offer, to make ourselves receptive to the request.
Think about it: God tied himself in with human beings a long time ago, at least in the Story we have (maybe God has a whole other story going with wolves or pigeons or bees…). God created the world without help, and then created humankind to help tend the whole enterprise. And even after that little initiative ran into trouble, God continued to rely upon people - upon the movement of patriarchs, and the voices of prophets, and the hands and feet of apostles to spread God’s message and reveal God’s power. It’s an intricate relationship between us and the Holy Spirit at work in us – and it is how God will to continue to reveal God’s self in the world until he has restored all things to wholeness.
Which makes me wonder how much more whole things would be if we all offered our donkeys and extra rooms and special gifts as generously as the unnamed people in our stories did. What you got?