Luke 19:28 After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, "Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' just say this, 'The Lord needs it.'" 32 So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, "Why are you untying the colt?" 34 They said, "The Lord needs it." 35 Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, 38 saying, "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!" 39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, order your disciples to stop." 40 He answered, "I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out."
I have heard many sermons that use the name of Jesus to persuade people to donate their hard earned cash/possessions to keep the local church – and pastor - solvent. So when I hear that “The Lord needs it” I am already looking for the catch. Whether it is my money, or the colt tied up outside the house, the question that rings in my mind is – “Who says Jesus needs it?”
The story of Jesus and the colt offer us a clue in dealing with demands for money or possessions. The fact is that everything we have belongs to God. With God’s blessing we are to use and enjoy our possessions in God’s service. So when Jesus asks for the colt, it is freely given. But this has nothing to do with enriching an individual, or entrenching the power of the religious institution.
Let us not be fooled into donating money just because someone uses the name of Jesus. Let us donate generously only after a thorough investigation, ensuring that the work of Jesus is promoted rather than entrenching the power and status of the religious leader or the religious institution.
Last Sunday after Pentecost
56 Christ the King
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 341.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.