Chasing Donkeys

Ever get that feeling like the majority of your life is spent in frustrating tasks that never seem to stop? If it’s not one thing it’s another… one problem after the next… Have you even wondered Donkeyhow much you could be accomplishing if you didn’t have to deal with those little annoyances? You’re not alone, friend; we’ve all experienced it.  But what if all that running around had a greater purpose? Let me explain…

In the 8th chapter of 1 Samuel the prophet for whom the book is named, Samuel (surprise!) received a council of elders whom demanded that Samuel give the people a king.  While Samuel knew that their motives were askew in this he went to the Lord anyway and he was told that the people would receive the king they desired.  Samuel was told to wait for the man of God’s choosing.  One day as Samuel is getting ready for a day of sacrifice in the town of Ramah the Lord speaks to him and says “At this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be king over my people” (1 Sam 9:16).  Those of us who know the story know that the man God sent to Samuel ended up being Saul, right? What I want you to see here, though is not so much who the man was but how it was that the Lord sent him to Samuel.

Two days before to the Lord spoke to Samuel, Saul had a problem on his hands: His father’s donkeys had taken off.  Kish gave the unenviable job of donkey chasing to his son Saul and his servant who then proceeded to crisscross all over the hills of Ephraim looking for those crazy critters.  Could there BE a more frustrating, time-wasting, pain-in-the-neck task than chasing donkeys around the countryside?  While I’ve never done it myself it takes only a little imagination to see that it would be a maddening exercise.  Think of all the profitable and substantial things that Saul could have accomplished with those three days if he’d not been out on this fool’s errand.

But here is where we must see something significant; remember what the Lord said to Samuel? He said, “I’m sending you a man.”  How did the paths of Samuel and Saul come to cross? It was while Saul was out looking for those bothersome beasts of burden that he found Samuel instead and through that interaction the lives of both men were forever altered.  The text is silent about whether it was God who caused the equine jailbreak or whether it simply the result of difficult mammals being difficult, but the end result is the same; God used Saul’s donkey chasing to create a divine appointment.

Friend, I don’t know what kind of donkey chasing you might currently be engaged in.  I don’t know what kind of time-wasting, energy-sucking, mind-numbing thing you might have to do this week.  But here’s what I do know.  I do know that our God uses just these kinds of things to create fruitful interactions.  Sometimes the Lord causes or allows things in our lives that will force us off the beaten path because He has an appointment for us. Often it’s because he wants to use us to bring light and grace into someone else life, but sadly many of us make ourselves unavailable for use in these times because we’re too busy being bitter about the donkey chasing.  What missed opportunities for the kingdom that have gotten by all of us! Other times, like in the case of Saul and Samuel, the Lord may have something in the interaction for YOU… and we miss those, too, don’t we?

Won’t you pray this today: “Lord Jesus, help me to see that You desire to use me and the donkeys I am often forced to chase.  Help to remain available for Your use even in the midst of wearisome and frustrating tasks.  As You did for Samuel, do for me also, and show me clearly those whom you have sent me to meet. Amen.”


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