by Pastor Susan Humbert
Did you know that all of us were designed for community, created to be relational? Some good, biblical examples include the Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, denoting community. Moses was instructed to shrink the large group of Israelites into small groups. Jesus modeled community with the Twelve. It’s not like He needed help to start the Church through discipleship, but then again, discipleship is innately relational.
The New Testament is replete with relational language, offering fifty-nine “one anothers” to its participants. You know the funny thing about one anothers? You can’t do them alone! If we are called to love one another, forgive one another, bear with one another, pray for one another, and encourage one another, living relationally is a prerequisite. Admonish one another requires some extra. We really do need to earn the right to speak into someone else’s life. The donkey and his rider, Balaam, from Numbers chapter twenty-two, is a perfect example.
To thumb nail this tale, Balaam was a pagan diviner, helping the Moabites defeat the approaching Tribes of Israel. God commanded Balaam not to help them, but he continued on his donkey, set on his erroneous course. Able to see in front of them what the seer could not, the donkey swerved three times to save his master from the angel of the Lord with a drawn sword, each time meeting Balaam’s angry belt. Now, I don’t know if it sounded like Eddie Murphy, but God opened the donkey’s larynx and it spoke, “What have I done to you to beat me these three times? Am I not your donkey that you have ridden all your life? Have I ever behaved this way before?” God opened the eyes of the seer and Balaam dismounted the donkey and bowed low before the angel.
The donkey had earned the right to admonish Balaam because they were living relationally. We all need course-correction at one time or another. Who’s the donkey in your life?