a wonderful day to give back the donkey.
“If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to take it back to him.” Exodus 23:4 NIV
Doing something nice for someone who doesn’t like us is a particularly challenging concept for many of us.
When considering how to deal with our enemies, revenge and ‘getting even’ jump to the forefront of our thoughts. Hopefully these thoughts are fleeting. We are more than likely to just ignore such people. Most of us don’t take the bait and let our tempers rise which lowers us to their level, but we don’t hold out an ice cream cone on a hot day either. While this type of behavior doesn’t make the situation worse, it doesn’t contribute to making it better.
Isn’t it our responsibility to do our best to let others see how wonderful being a servant of God can be?
For instance, maybe we have a particularly unreasonable neighbor who has called animal control on us because our dog got loose and went into his yard. With grim faces, we go get the dog, pay whatever fees there are and go home, angry at the neighbor, but controlled enough to not say anything. Sometime later, we see the neighbor’s dog down the street. We have a choice: we can get even, or we can take a small step towards demonstrating a better way to live to those who wrong us. We return the dog, make no reference to what transpired when the shoe was on the other foot, cheerfully say, “Have a blessed day,” and leave. Do not wait for a “thank you,” but don’t be surprised if you are stopped and given one.
Of course, be prepared to receive none and do not expect one.
Will every situation result in a changed person? Of course not. Many people in this world who have not found the peace that comes from having a good relationship with the Lord will be difficult to change. But consistent pleasantness on our part in the face of anger, hate, dislike, and hostility can have more of an impact then we know.
Returning a donkey can be a thankless task. We cannot do it for the thanks. We must do it because God wants us to, and because it is the right thing, not the easy thing. We must do all we can to change the hearts of those who need it. After all, Jesus said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those that are sick.” (Matthew 9:12 NASB).
There are many ways to ‘give back your neighbor’s donkey’ and today is a wonderful way to find one.
Taken from “TODAY IS….A Gift From God”, (C) 2013 Tony Casson