“As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, ‘Why are you untying the colt?’ They said, ‘The Lord needs it.’” Luke 19:33-34
Imagine that was your donkey. Your “beast of burden”. In other places we learn that no one had yet ridden this donkey. (Luke 19:30) So not only were the followers of Jesus taking a donkey, they were taking a young donkey – one with many more years left. And what was the response of the owners?
“They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it.” Mark 11:6
It’s difficult for me to let go of a “first”, especially when it’s last minute. The first bite of a freshly opened bag of chips. The first bite of a steaming hot piece of pizza. The first bite of a newly unwrapped candy bar. But these are all nothing compared to what the owner of this donkey is giving up. We don’t know a lot about the owners here, or if this was all worked out ahead of time. But based on what we read, it’s a simple and last minute “Hey, the Lord needs this”….”and they allowed them to take it.”
Imagine the pride later on, if this owner was a follower of Jesus. Watching Jesus make his triumphal entry into Jerusalem to the shouts of “Savior! Save us!!” (Hosanna!) The King arriving to the shouts and adoration of his people, and riding on the donkey that was willingly given over for the needs of Jesus. Seeing their donkey, carrying Jesus to his people.
Now bear with me – because this is a stretch.
I believe this story is an important reminder to us as parents. Our children are so much more to us than donkeys, obviously. But no matter what we’re referring to, the story above reminds us to hold whatever we hold – loosely for the sake of Jesus. This is not as simple as God asking us to let our children become pastors or missionaries either. This is as complicated as letting our children become the kind of people who experience suffering, unpopularity, and even death.
It’s not about preparing ourselves to offer them to Jesus “in case” He approaches us and asks. God has already sent His Word to our homes, saying “The Lord needs them”. Whatever they end up doing, wherever they end up going; our children are needed by God for the purposes of His Kingdom.
But how amazing are those moments – even at our children’s young ages – when you see them carrying Jesus into their world? When you hear their words of love and forgiveness. When we see them offer grace that might be undeserved. When they come to you, suggesting a response to life that comes from a heart purely wanting to respond to Jesus. As we smile and our hearts are warmed, we understand even more than the owner of that donkey – the blessing of something we’ve offered to God, bringing Jesus into the world…and we pray they grow daily into their identities as “Christ-bearers”.