Pin the Tail on the Donkey
Growing up did you ever play “pin the tail on the donkey?” I did, especially at kids’ birthday parties. If you’re not familiar with the game, you have a board with the picture of a donkey’s behind. A tail has been created out of paper or some type of material with a pin or adhesive at one end so it will stick to the board. Then you blindfold the person who is going to pin the tail. After they are blindfolded and you’ve made sure they cannot see, you spin them around several times until they now have no idea where anything is. Still blindfolded, the person then searched for the donkey to pin its tail on. The fun is watching this completely blinded individual try to find the donkey and pin the tail on it. It is much like trying to hit a piñata. As a bystander, you’ve got to watch out. You never know where the tail will get pinned, or the stick will strike trying to find the piñata. For all you cool Gen Z folks, I highly recommend it!
I don’t think I was ever successful at pinning the tail on the donkey, but I’ll give it a try the next opportunity. In the dark, trying to find your way is really difficult. Without our sight, we are aimless. I am so impressed and deeply humbled by those who are blind and how they have learned to navigate through a seeing world. It is just amazing.
A Donkey’s Story
Several years ago, a Christian rockabilly band that I know wrote a song called “Good, Good Donkey.” Every time I heard the song I couldn’t help by think of Donkey from the movie Shrek. Donkey was Shrek’s best friend and did everything he could to help Shrek. But the song focused on the donkey Jesus rode entering Jerusalem just a week before His arrest and crucifixion. The donkey experiences Jesus and sees all the people shouting and dancing and singing. The people of Jerusalem came out waving palm branches and laid coats down on the road for the donkey to walk on as he carried Jesus. “Wow, these people have laid down their coats just for me to walk on,” thought the donkey. “This whole parade is just for me.”
The donkey’s story is a real miracle. Its owner had yet to ever put this young donkey to work. In fact, before Jesus got on this donkey, no one had ever ridden him. Earlier that day, Jesus had given His disciples some instructions:
“Now when they drew near Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples; and He said to them, “Go into the village opposite you; and as soon as you have entered it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has sat. Loose it and bring it. And if anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it,’ and immediately he will send it here.” So they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door outside on the street, and they loosed it. But some of those who stood there said to them, “What are you doing, loosing the colt?” And they spoke to them just as Jesus had commanded. So they let them go.” – Mark 11:1-6
This donkey had been singled out by Jesus to be used for a specific task. Yet this young donkey has no idea what his purpose was. He was young. No one had ever given him a task before. He was created to work hard and be able to carry weight on his back. He could transport many things, even people. But so far, he had not really done that. I really doubt that this donkey felt special in any way. In fact, I would believe that he thought he was no different than any other of his donkey friends. It was just average…a normal donkey. Nothing special.
When God was planning how He would bring His Son into Jerusalem and have one of the great worship services during the ministry of Jesus, He thought of this donkey. He thought of him many years before. Zechariah had foretold this:
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.” – Zechariah 9:9
This young donkey was actually in the plan of God. He has a purpose and a mission. There was a reason why he had not been ridden yet. No one had forgotten him. God’s plan was happening at just the right time. And this donkey was at the right place and at the right time. The Lord had need of him.
Carrying Jesus and seeing the people worshipping and praising Him, this donkey heard the people cry out:
“Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their clothes on it, and He sat on it. And many spread their clothes on the road, and others cut down leafy branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David
That comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest!”
Your Story is the Lord’s
At this point, it could be really easy for our donkey to receive that praise for himself. Look, he was doing what he was created to do. The people were shouting and singing his praise, waving palm branches and laying their coats down for him to walk on. He was doing such a great job for his first time carrying someone on his back. “WOW!! Is this what it was going to be like every time I carry someone?” asked the donkey.
No. You’re just a good, good donkey. You’re the donkey Jesus rode in on.
Palm Sunday we celebrate the triumphal entry of our Savior into Jerusalem. He was the one that was going to take away the sins of the people. He was the one who was going to deliver them and establish His Kingdom. He was going to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We can see the praise of the people and the acts of worship they did for our Lord. But this insignificant little donkey represents you and me.
In our work for God, we can become blinded by the accolades and praise from others. Pride is always there to puff us up, and we begin to think of ourselves better than we really are. This Palm Sunday celebrate the greatness of our King Jesus. He is the one worthy of our praise, our lives and our service. And when you are tempted by pride to get a little arrogant or puffed up, just remember you’re a good donkey. You are just the donkey Jesus rode in on.