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By Pastor Paul Gauche

Today’s Word: ‘Donkey’ as in… don’t kick the donkey.

Deep in the Hebrew scriptures, there’s a story about a donkey that talks. I know. It’s odd. A talking donkey. One might wonder what language did the donkey speak. Arabic? Hebrew? English? Never mind that in the King James Version, the donkey is called an ass. Oh well. Then there’s that.

Donkeys show up in scripture with remarkable frequency. So when a writer includes a donkey in a story, we ought to pay attention. Donkeys sip water from springs. Donkeys know where their master’s manger is located. They’re a Lyft for royalty, an Uber for the underprivileged. They’re a sign for the Rabbi’s support staff.

Oddest of all, in this story, the donkey is a spokes-beast for the Divine. A lot is going on here; a good bit of fear and foreboding generates a great deal of conniving and treachery. And in the end, the donkey takes a beating for just attempting to steer the rider in the right direction. So unfair.

In any story, any metaphor can easily twist things out of shape. Suffice to say, this donkey in this story provides an essential element: a warning that essential messages are on the road ahead. It’s easy to kick the donkey when we’re on our metaphorical road to whatever is next. We get so focused on the minutiae that we lose the bigger picture, the critical detail, the deeper meaning. And we kick the donkey. So unwise.

The donkey is whatever stands before you, helping you make your next best decision. The donkey is reminding you to take an extra hot minute to think before speaking. The donkey is reminding you to consult one more friend and ask one more question. The donkey is the sentence from a book, the line in the poem, the verse from scripture, the word spoken by a friend that catches your attention and pulls you back into reasonable thinking as you face the next important decision. For every decision we face in life, this is a clear word of wisdom: Don’t kick the donkey.


Paul Gauche is the Pastor of Life Transitions at Prince of Peace. His posts are part of his #100days50words project, where he blogs about a different word each week. You can follow his project on Instagram (@pgauche) or on his blog, Thriving Rhythms.

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