The church/school bell had just rung, calling everyone to worship (the school we met in has a pair of old bells that we ring seven times before church each Sunday). And there I was pacing outside, asking God what I was to do as in a few minutes I would have to walk into the gym, pick up my bass guitar, play a few songs and then teach on intimate heart of worship – a topic that is close to my heart and one that I wish every Jesus follower would/could grasp.
It was in that moment of silence before the activity of the day, I heard two words spoken to my heart from my Lover:
In the colloquialism of the American West, a trail broke animal, which is usually a horse, cow or donkey, is one that is used to walking down a trail either as a lead animal or as one following the lead critter. In the case of a horse, being trail broke normally refers to a horse that can be counted on to follow a trail rather than always trying to get of the trail and into the ‘wild’ areas.
For a cow the phrase normally refers to a one that is used to being driven in cow drives and is content to follow the lead cowboy wherever he takes them. A trail broke donkey is similar to a trail broke cow, only a donkey is usually the lead animal in a herd of sheep, who will follow the donkey wherever it goes. In such a case, the lead donkey has the unique task either following the shepherd in front of the herd or, in the case when the shepherd is off corralling a renegade sheep, it follows the trail the shepherd left until otherwise directed.
For those who have been following this blog know that last year about this time the Lord gave me a similar picture with me being the lead donkey (i.e. pastor) of His flock (i.e. the PRV church). Accordingly, yesterday’s encouragement was the Shepherd of Shepherds way of reminding me that the only task He has asked me to do is to follow Him. It’s not my job to push, prod or try to force the sheep to follow the trail (that’s the Holy Spirit’s job) – even when my heart breaks for them and longs to see them on the trail….
No. I’m simply a trail broke lead donkey following my Shepherd and Best Friend.
“Follow my [St. Paul’s] example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1, NIV)
“[St. Paul] I’m not implying that I’ve already received “resurrection,” or that I’ve already become complete and mature! No: I’m hurrying on, eager to overtake it, because King Jesus has overtaken me. My dear family, I don’t reckon that I have yet overtaken it. But this is my one aim: to forget everything that’s behind, and to strain every nerve to go after what’s ahead. I mean to chase on towards the finishing post, where the prize waiting for me is the upward call of God in King Jesus.
Those of us who are mature should think like this! If you think differently about it, God will reveal this to you as well. Only let’s be sure to keep in line with the position we have reached.
So, my dear family, I want you, all together, to watch what I do and copy me. You’ve got us as a pattern of behavior; pay careful attention to people who follow it.” (Philippians 3:12- 17, The Kingdom New Testament)