They are not assigned the high-ranked “smartness” status of dogs or even horses, yet there is something about them that has always appealed to me. Their personalities and characters reflect what they exhibit in this world: peace, gentleness, and slowness. They are entertaining animals; they are social and like company.
I have enjoyed watching donkeys in the wild and also those who have become popular characters in our pop culture. Eeyore, and Donkey from Shrek. Both of these characters are donkeys but their personalities differ. Eeyore is slow, not very happy. Donkey is full of energy and joy.
Both donkeys have made me laugh and had me think with their sayings. One of Eeyore’s favorites for me is “A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.” And one of Donkey’s to Shrek: “You’re so wrapped up in layers, onion boy, you’re afraid of your feelings.”
Donkeys are part of the Bible story, as we all know. I would have loved to be present to observe the personality of the donkey the disciples brought to Jesus. I can imagine the whole ordeal, perhaps that donkey could have been smelling the flowers, the ground, the people, being stubborn and taking its time, showing everyone that Jesus’ kingdom will be lasting forever, will take time to build, will require patience, and will be based on bringing peace, joy, humility, kindness, and love.
But for all of that change to happen people would need to slow down and pay attention, to understand their current reality, personally and communally, so that the new kingdom Jesus was bringing could be possible. Eeyore’s saying echoes Jesus’ teaching of caring and having consideration for others, but that can only happen when we stop and humble ourselves. When we let go of only being focused on ourselves, we are open to see the needs of those near us.
Shrek, an ogre himself, speaks about ogres being like onions, having layers. We all have layers; we don’t need to be ogres to have them. Layers are created as we exist in response to our environment. Jesus calls us to clean ourselves of the sin that is part of our lives, and for that to happen we need to dig deep.
Maybe there is someone in our lives today who is telling us, like Donkey, that we are wrapped in layers that need to come off. Those layers will dissolve when we let God do the work of reigning in our lives, when we become humble people called to serve and love others.
It is not easy to accept that we have so much work to do on ourselves! Remember it is a process, a process of becoming more like Jesus and less like ourselves, a process of sanctification and salvation, a process of becoming filled with love, the Love of God.
John Wesley said. “Humility and patience are the surest proofs of the increase of love.” Let’s show these to the world so that people will know the character and mission of our Savior Jesus.