The Lord has need of ME?? (Prayer Devotional for the week of December 13, 2015)

In a passage frequently referred to as “Jesus’ Triumphant Entry” (see Mark 11, Luke 19, Matthew 21, & John 12), we read the story about Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. Here’s an excerpt from Mark’s account:

“As Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. “Go into that village over there,” he told them. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks, ‘What are you doing?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it and will return it soon.’” (Mark 11:1-3, NLT)

 

If you’re like me, you may have heard that story so many times over the years that it feels very familiar, but let’s look a little more closely. First of all, a lot happened around Bethany in the New Testament, and this story is no exception. Bethany was the hometown of Lazarus, the raised-from-the-dead friend of Jesus (John 11:1); it is also where a woman anointed Jesus with expensive perfume (Matthew 26:6); and, it is the place where Jesus cursed a fig tree (Mark 11:12). Bethany is also where Jesus blessed his disciples after his resurrection, right before he ascended into heaven! (Luke 24:50-51)

 

Next, Jesus chose a donkey in fulfillment of the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9, but I find it interesting that God – in his wisdom and sense of humor – selected an untamed colt as his animal of preference. He could have specified any magnificent creature on earth, yet he chose a lowly, stubborn, beast of burden. (May we remember that little fact whenever we think too highly of ourselves in the Lord’s work – if he can use an untamed jackass … er, donkey … then who are we to think we’re so important?)

 

Lastly, Jesus instructed his disciples to respond to any inquiries by saying, “The Lord needs it.” This word for Lord is the Greek word Kyrios, which is translated “master.” In essence, the Master of the universe is asking to borrow a lowly, untamed donkey so that he can ride into the city where he will ultimately sacrifice himself on our behalf. Let that sink into your heart for a few moments.

 

God always has a reason for why he asks things of us. He does not demand them of us, but he gives us opportunities to partner with him in his work. Sometimes the things he asks of us don’t make any sense right then, and to be frank, they may not ever make sense in our lifetimes. But, one day, all will be revealed in his perfect, eternal timing. In the meantime, we are called simply to obey. The Lord has need of you … are you willing to serve?

Cometh to the Dark Side (A review of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars, by Ian Doescher)

I have been remiss in posting this review (though as far as excuses go, I have been a wee bit busy finishing my dissertation). 😉 For the past four years that I have been working toward this degree, I have given myself literary rewards as incentive to keep myself on track with my studies. Leisure time is hard to come by while balancing grad school with a full-time job and parenting, much less any semblance of a social life. I love to read, so allowing myself time to read a novel – or anything other than a textbook, really – is a treat when I reach certain goals along the way.

That said, I was given the opportunity to review Ian Doescher’s book, William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope, and I couldn’t resist. It is positively hysterical. The storyline is easy to follow if you are familiar with the Star Wars saga at all, and the Shakespearean tone is a hoot.

Format-wise, the book is written like one of Shakespeare’s plays, complete with character notations, dialogue, stage directions and scene descriptions. My favorite character in the book is R2-D2, because although he only speaks in bleeps and bloops in the dialogue, Doescher has taken poetic license to provide some insight into R2-D2’s thoughts in the narrative. Sweet little heroic droid!

If you are a fan of Shakespeare, a fan of Star Wars or interested in dabbling in either, this book is a fun place to begin!

Disclaimer: I was provided a complimentary copy of the book but received no other compensation for this review.