Tag Archives: leader

Try Not to Argue with the Donkey

Tuesday Re-mix – This is a popular post from last year, updated and resubmitted for your consideration and comments.

Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”  Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me!  If I had a sword in my hand I would kill you right now.” Numbers 22:28-29

It is one of the most humorous pictures in the Bible, and it plays itself out again and again in churches everywhere every week.  It is not the donkey speaking that makes me laugh…

…it is that Balaam argues with it.

What jumps off the page at me as I read this account is the fact that Balaam never catches himself conversing with a donkey!  Where is the shock and surprise, having just heard a donkey speak?!  Wouldn’t that be the natural reaction?  Rather than falling on his knees out of recognition of what only God could do, Balaam immediately engages in verbal combat.  With his donkey!

There are moments in the life of every church leader when something profound–something bothersome, uncomfortable, or even directly opposing us, but nonetheless profound–comes from a completely unexpected source.  There are those circumstances where we hear well-articulated opposition from a person through whom we have never heard any wisdom at all.  These are important moments in a leader’s ministry.  Be careful.  There are few things more humiliating than missing God’s word when it is staring you straight in the face.

I have often said that I would never want to serve with a pastor who will not hear God speak through his people.  That would be a bit like Thomas saying to the other disciples when they told him they had …