“It’s Palm Sunday, so I want you to go into town and steal me a donkey.”  Jesus told his disciples.  “If anybody catches you tell them ‘I need it.'”  OK, it wasn’t exactly stealing.  It was borrowing.

Reminds me of the old story about Bob Rienhard, who was walking down the street one day.  It was Palm Sunday afternoon.  Bob was a member of the First Baptist Church and the Willing Workers Sunday School class and he had been to church that Palm Sunday morning.  So, he was walking down the street and happened to notice in the driveway of Mr. Smith, a brand new Olds Rocket 88 and the keys were dangling from the ignition. That was one hot car.  And so Bob Rienhard decided to take Mr. Smith’s car for a holy week spin.  Mr. Smith noticed his car taking off from his driveway and he ran after it with his house slippers barely on his feet and the Sunday newspaper in hand.  “Why are you taking my car?”

Old Bob apparently remembered the Sunday School lesson and yelled back, “I need it.”

Jesus was neither a capitalist nor a communist.  He just borrowed everything. “I need it,” he said.  He borrowed the water he turned into wine.  He borrowed the stone jars from which it was poured.  He borrowed the boat from which he taught and fished.  He borrowed houses from which to eat and teach and heal.  I suppose he always borrowed someone’s car, lawn mower and butter.  He borrowed husbands, sons and daughters to be his disciples.  “Ma’am, can I borrow your husband for a few years.  I’ll bring him back.”  He borrowed the upper room from which he ate his last meal with his borrowed friends.  He was born in a borrowed manger, died on a borrowed cross, and was resurrected from a borrowed tomb.

I bet if he were here today, he would drive us all crazy.  “Honey, I like this young, single man who moved in next door but gee whiz, all he does is borrow, borrow, borrow.  We can’t keep milk and eggs in the house.  You’d think he would get his own stuff.  Enough is enough.”

Don’t you just hate it when people borrow all the time from you?  When we lived in Houston, we had a townhouse and a neighbor named Peggy.  When I say neighbor, I mean her front door was ten feet from ours.  She was always borrowing from us.  Five dollars.  Ten dollars.  “Will we ever see that money again?”  I would ask Sheri.  We didn’t know if she was really in need or if she was blowing it.  Not only would she borrow our money but she would borrow our time.  She had a little boy who was just a baby, in fact the same age as our son.  She would ask us to watch him while she ran some errands.  We liked Peggy and we wanted to help, but we sort of resented her always borrowing our money and our time.

Back in biblical days, donkeys were prized possessions, sort of like a Mercedes. Donkeys had four wheel drive, Sirius radio, and temp controlled seating. Most people were so poor they couldn’t afford one.  People might go in and buy one together.

“Hey, Jesus wants to borrow your donkey.”

“Why?”

“He needs it.”

“OK”

Maybe what Jesus is teaching us on this Holy Week is: All we have is borrowed from God—even life and breath itself.  We entered this world with nothing.  I have spent my fair share of time in the maternity ward.  Trust me.  Babies have nothing.  And we leave this world with nothing.  I have ridden in the funeral home hearse many a time and never once were we pulling a U-Haul.

All that we have is loaned to us by God.  Can others borrow what God has loaned?

~Pastor Steve

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