This morning, my dear husband and I read Matthew 21 (The Triumphal Entry/ "Palm Sunday") in our devotion time. This carried me back to Dec. 1, the first Sunday in Advent, and my deaconess commissioning and installation. Matthew 21:1-11 was the text for Pr. Jonathan Mumme's sermon that morning. He made a beautiful, humorous, and humbling case for how a deaconess is like a donkey in this story.
Hosannah to the Lord! For He fulfills God's word.
Matthew's account of Palm Sunday is the only one that tells of two donkeys: the unbroken colt and the other one. The Lord rode on the colt, the one on which no one had ever sat. The other donkey-- the auxiliary donkey-- was the one which bore burdens on behalf of the colt, that the colt might be reserved for bearing the Lord.
The deaconess is like an auxiliary donkey: she bears burdens and performs many tasks so that the pastor, like the colt, might bear the Lord, and bring Him to the people. Both animals are beasts of burden and neither receive glory for themselves, but their task is a glorious one. For the first, it is to bear the Lord. For the other, it is to facilitate the bearing of the Lord.
What a blessing it is, then, to be in the role of auxiliary donkey. At times this calling, as Pr. Mumme assured me, will be work, a heavy struggle. After all, donkeys are beasts of burden, and an auxiliary donkey certainly is tasked with weighty loads. The blessing is in the knowledge that this work, this role, is one which enables the Lord's other servants to focus on the primary need of bringing Christ Jesus where He means to go. What more honorable role is there than serving so that the Lord's work is done! As a deaconess, may I be a joyful burden-bearer, and devoid of that other trait for which donkeys are so well known: intransigence and stubbornness. God grant it!