A Donkey With a Cross

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Since we're living in the country these days, old city boy here is seeing a lot more farm animals and I'm learning a lot. There are even some donkeys nearby. It's kind of fun to hear their braying. You know, there's literally no other animal that sounds quite like a donkey. Now, one of these is gray, and the other one is brown, but they both have the same marking on their back. It's one long dark line along their spine and then there's a shorter dark line across their shoulders. It actually makes a cross. One old farmer told my wife that all donkeys have that cross, and that they have it because a donkey carried Jesus to His birth and on Palm Sunday. I don't know the reason, but there's no doubt that many a donkey carries the cross on his back.

I have to tell you that I saw myself when I looked at those donkeys. No, I don't have donkey ears and I don't bray. But in a lot of ways, I am sort of a donkey who carries the cross of Jesus.

Jesus' great ambassador, Paul, knew that the message of the cross - the one that he carried everywhere he went - was all he really had to offer. In our word for today from the Word of God in Galatians 6:14, he simply says, "May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." Oh, Paul had a list of Christian accomplishments that would dwarf anything any of us could be proud of. But he knew who he was. In his own words, "the less than least of all God's people" (Ephesians 3:8). Then He said, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am the worst" (1 Timothy 1:15).

Several years ago I was surprised at a large Christian event by the presentation of a wonderful award. In fact, I was almost in shock as I went up to accept the award. They wanted me to say something, and for once in my life, I did not know what I would say. And this verse, King James style, was all I could think of, "God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." See, I'm nothing without the cross. Paul was nothing without the cross. You're nothing without the cross.

This isn't a matter of putting yourself down and insulting God by saying that He created someone worthless. We are "His workmanship" (Ephesians 2:10). But without the cross, we're stranded in an orbit away from the One who gave us our worth, and the death of Jesus on that brutal cross is the only way to connect with our Creator.

If you've drifted into promoting yourself these days, if you've been trying to get attention or recognition or advancement for yourself, how about going out of the self-promoting business? God has you here to promote Jesus - to promote His cross.

God doesn't need you or me, but when we pick up our cross to follow Jesus, He appoints us to His service. And He gives us a simple mission. In a sense, the one He's given those donkeys, "Carry My cross wherever you go!" Are you?

Your mission is to take as many people as you can by the hand and lead them up Skull Hill to the foot of Jesus' cross where you show them how much Jesus loves them. Anyone who knows you for very long should be guided by you to the cross. I just pray that you won't be ashamed of the cross of Jesus. Aren't you thankful He wasn't ashamed of you when He died for you on the cross?

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