I Want to Be An Ass

My new motivational poster.

Ever since I became a Christian in high school, I have regularly exchanged my heroes. At first, my heroes were men like David or Hezekiah who, in moments of crisis, courageously risked life and limb so God would be honored above all (1 Sam. 17:46; Is. 37:20). Then, as I grew I became enamored with saints like Ruth (Ruth 1:16-17) or Boaz (Ruth 2:1-16) or Anna

(Luke 2:36-38) who carried on with quiet, daily, and humble submission to God in the daily grind of mundane, routine life. More heroes took my attention as the years have passed on.

However, I think I found a hero that may be here to stay, at least for awhile. Unlike the previous examples, I feel I can possibly live up to the standard this one sets.

Os Guinness explains:

On the desk in front of me as I write is a tiny silver donkey, standing awkwardly with its characteristic big ears. It could hardly be more different from a thoroughbred racehorse or a magnificent charger that could carry a knight of armor into battle. The donkey reminds me of the proper role of the apologist. In the apostle Peter’s sequel to the letter mentioned earlier, he refers back to the book of Numbers when the prophet Balaam, en route to delivering a message that God had not sanctioned, was stopped in his tracks by the donkey he was riding. Peter described Balaam as the man who was sharply rebuked for his offense “when the dumb beast spoke with the human voice and put a stop to the prophet’s madness” (2 Peter 2:16).

Balaam’s ass is the patron saint of apologists. Madness, as we shall see, is an appropriate term for the unreality of unbelief. In order to counter it, we play our part, and we do the best we can. But even when our efforts are serviceable, our role is always humble and all too often inadequate and somewhat ridiculous. Christian advocates who understand their calling should ever be too big for their boots. The task is not about us. It’s all about him, and he may be trusted to do what matters.

(Taken from Fool’s Talk, p. 50)

I still admire David and Hezekiah for their courage in crisis. Ruth and Boaz and Anna still challenge me to strive daily not for stunning greatness, but for consistent faithfulness. However, my new hero, the donkey of Balaam, daily challenges me to be the “dumb beast” who speaks God’s glorious word with my inglorious human voice to challenge the world’s madness so they’d see the wisdom, truth, goodness, and beauty of the God of the world.

About Dana Dill

I'm a Christian, husband, daddy, pastor, professor, and hope to be a friend to pilgrims on their way home.
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