It was the first day of the week, and the young donkey plodded slowly along the dusty road. On his back rode a passenger he had never carried before.
The donkey and his passenger had left Bethany early that morning, accompanied by a small group of men who traveled on foot. Now, a few hours later, they rounded the slope of the Mount of Olives and arrived at the glistening city of Jerusalem.
Suddenly, the animal was surprised to hear the excited calls and cries of people as they neared the city gate. Soon the donkey realized that he was the center of attention.
They are looking at me, he told himself. He lifted his head and looked at the smiling faces that beamed at him. They are smiling at me! he thought.
A man took off his cloak and laid it on the dusty road before the donkey. A woman removed her shawl and spread it on the donkey's path. Soon, children were snatching palm branches and laying them in his path to make a soft, clean carpet for his feet. They are honoring me as if I were a king! the young donkey thought. He snorted with pride. They are singing my praises. Oh, I am great! I am wonderful!
When the regal procession reached the steps of the great temple, everyone stopped and grew quiet. Why do you stop? the donkey wondered. let the praises continue!
It was then the animal realized, with a shock, that the people's shouts were not for him. His passenger slowly dismounted and climbed the steps of the temple. The crowds followed him, leaving the donkey alone on the street, loosely tied to a post. I should have been honored, the donkey realized, to carry on my humble back the one they call Jesus, but I was too puffed up with my own imagined importance to appreciate the honor he had granted me.
Imagine! A donkey taking the praise and worship that belonged to Jesus! How ridiculous! How foolish! How arrogant!
Of course, we humans often make a similar mistake. We become prideful and think we're so great. We may be prideful about how pretty or popular we are. We may be prideful about how well we can sing or play baseball or about the grades we get in school or the games we win at camp. But when we do that, we're like the donkey who took the credit that belonged to Jesus. How ridiculous! How foolish! How arrogant!
God commands us, "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought" (Romans 12:3, NIV). Why? Because: (1) He knows we tend to get carried away and will even take credit for things we haven't done. (2) Any prideful attitude we may have keeps us from appreciating what God has given to us. (3) God values humility.
REFLECT: Have you ever acted like that donkey? How can you follow God's command not to "think of yourself more highly than you ought"?
PRAY: "Thank you, God, for giving me all I have and for making me all that I am."