The Lord Needs It

Yesterday was Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. The scripture we read at church was, of course, Matthew 21:1-11, which recounts Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. This is one of the very famous accounts in scripture, and most people are at least minimally familiar with the story.

As many times as I have read this scripture, though, it always captures my imagination. Jesus, riding into the city gates before a crowd- a crow that would in a weeks time be throwing insults at him- praising him as Hosannah and laying their coats at the feet of the foal that carried him. Its an amazing piece of scripture. Of course, the donkey is a key piece of the story. I remember as a kid learning that the donkey was a symbol of God’s gentleness and humility, and that it was a poignant depiction of the Old Testament prophecy in Zechariah. The aspect of the story that we too often gloss over, though, is the means by which the disciples got the donkey.

Jesus told the disciples, as we read in verse 2, to go into the city and essentially borrow the young donkey. And, if anyone were to ask them why they were taking the animal, they were to tell them that the Lord needs it.

Imagine the story without the donkey- the donkey was the signal to the crowds that Jesus was the Messiah. Anyone who had studied the Old Testament knew exactly what Jesus was saying when he rode into town on the animal, and without this important piece of the scene, the prophecy would not have been fulfilled. Without the faith of the owner of the donkey, and without his or her willingness to give up their possession when the Lord asked for it, people may not have recognized Jesus that day in Jerusalem for what he is- Hosannah in the Highest.

During this Holy Week, my prayer is that we each take stock of the possessions we value and ask ourselves if we would be willing to give them up if and when the Lord asks us to. What is your “donkey”? What do you have in your possession that might help glorify God in the most unexpected way? 

 

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Everyday Leadership

I was in a bookstore last week searching for a gift for a friend’s birthday when I wandered through the leadership and self help section. I walked past title after title touting leadership advice- all from great leaders who have certainly proven their expertise in the field. Looking at all of the authors and titles, I found myself conceptualizing leadership as a future state of being, as if I should be preparing myself for a time in my life, maybe 10 years down the road, when I would truly be considered a leader.

Then, I remembered the words of Drew Dudley- one of my favorite TED speakers:

“As long as we make leadership something bigger than us, we give ourselves an excuse not to expect it every day from ourselves and each other.”

In 2011 Dudley gave a talk called Everyday Leadership at TEDx Toronto, and his simple point has always stuck with me. We should expect great acts of leadership from ourselves every day. If we continually operate under the assumption that leadership is a future tense description, we can lull ourselves into being less than extraordinary.

Take a few moment (6 minutes to be exact) and watch the whole talk below. How can you practice and acknowledge everyday leadership this week?

 

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God Is In Control

Emily Karimi doesn’t define herself by her HIV status, although it would be an easy thing to do in a country where the disease has been considered an epidemic for years. But Emily calls herself a mother, a wife, and a follower of Jesus.

She’s also a participant in her local CARE for AIDS program. She was originally tested for HIV when she was pregnant with her son. While she was expecting, Emily learned she had contracted the disease from her husband, a discovery she says was one of the most difficult things she’s ever had to face.

I had a hard time,” she says. “But whenever I came to the [CARE for AIDS] clinic, I submitted my life to Jesus.

Since that day, Emily has received the physical and spiritual support she needs to live a healthy life. With proper nutrition and medical care, she says she now has hope to keep moving forward, and perhaps, even meet her grandchildren one day.

To live long is what I want,” she says. “And when I asked Him to, God interfered. There will always be difficulties, but God is in control.”

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Elizabeth’s story is one of 100 staff and client stories in the CARE for AIDS coffee table book. Click here to learn more about this project.

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