Have you ever come through a fantastic weekend and truly regretted the onset of the coming week? It may be a short vacation trip, a visit to a special beach, or perhaps even a weekend visit with special friends. It may include fantastic meals, beautiful sunsets and sunrises, or possibly a spiritual renewal or even revival. The bottom line is, the weekend was a fantastic high.
But then comes Monday. And on Monday, every event from the immediate past weekend becomes relegated to the archives of history. While I can bask in reflections of the weekend past, I still have to get up, go to work, and immediately my high comes down to earth. All the encouragement from the weekend seems a part of the distant past. Oftentimes, it seems like that excitement, that weekend energy, not only hit the earth but dug in about six feet under the earth. Whatever positive feelings we had from the weekend seem now so distant in the past.
Monday is a beautiful day. There really is no reason to be down or depressed. No matter what sort of weekend you have had, the arrival of the first day of the week seems so mundane. The reality of appointments, schedules, calls and people to see and talk with — all of it seems so, so regular, so ho-hum, so boring.
I am reminded of the story told by Wayne Rice some years ago about the donkey that carried Jesus into Jerusalem that first Palm Sunday. The donkey awakened, his mind still savoring the afterglow of the most exciting day of his life. Never before had he felt such a rush of pleasure and pride. He walked into town and found a group of people by the well.
“I’ll show myself to them,” he thought.
But they didn’t notice him. They went on drawing their water and paid him no mind.
“Throw your garments down,” he said crossly. “Don’t you know who I am?”
They just looked at him in amazement. Someone slapped him across the tail and ordered him to move.
“Miserable heathens!” he muttered to himself. “I’ll just go to the market where the good people are. They will remember me.”
But the same thing happened. No one paid any attention to the donkey as he strutted down the main street in front of the market place.
“The palm branches! Where are the palm branches!” he shouted. “Yesterday, you threw palm branches!”
Hurt and confused, the donkey returned home to his mother.
“Foolish child,” she said gently. “Don’t you realize that without Him, you are just an ordinary donkey?”
That is a humbling story that brings me down to earth, right where I belong! My friends, without Him, we are just ordinary donkeys. It is fairly easy to think that we are someone special and the success of our lives is due to our own initiative, our own endeavor, and our own hard work. Just like the donkey that carried Jesus in Jerusalem, we are most fulfilled when we are in the service of Jesus Christ. Without him, all our best efforts are like filthy rags (check out Isaiah 64:6) and amount to nothing. When we lift up Christ, however, we are no longer ordinary people, but key players in God’s plan to redeem the world.
Life is filled with Mondays, days that tend to bring us down from the mountaintop experiences of our lives and demonstrate a good dose of reality. If we are expecting to enjoy Mondays the same way we do every weekend, then we will be in for a long haul. But consider this: Whether it be Monday or any other day of the week, we are just ordinary donkeys without Him. But with Christ playing the priority role in our lives on a daily basis, every day is special, because every day is His. You don’t have to be an ordinary donkey. It just does not make sense. Give Him your life. Live each day for Him. Let Him have the control of your life. And watch Him work – both in you and through you. You don’t have to be an ordinary donkey. The choice is yours.
Note: In my article published the week of July 14, 2020, I used an illustration in which I compared marriage to driving a Rolls Royce. It has been brought to my attention that the illustration is a direct quote from the book “Married by God” by Christopher Ash. It is not my intention to use other people’s material without giving them credit, so I hereby want to humbly acknowledge my mistake and indeed thank Mr. Ash as the source for that beautiful illustration.
Chuck Tabor is a religion columnist for The Times-Gazette and a former Hillsboro area pastor. He can be reached at [email protected]