In his sphere of influence, Balaam was “The Man.” People didn’t just come to see him from miles around, but from countries around. For his guidance and wisdom, he was a power broker in the realm of kings and rulers.
He was also arrogant, no doubt because he was so highly respected and sought after.
So when God wanted to convey His wish to Balaam, the man couldn’t get the message. Not until God empowered Balaam’s abused donkey to literally speak and confront his master.
There’s a lot we can learn from Balaam. In every sermon, speech or presentation that I’ve heard him invoked, the general gist is: Don’t be like Balaam! OK, fair enough.
Beware The Working End
But what about the ass, the real ass of the story, Balaam’s donkey? Him we don’t hear preached about, as if there are no lessons to be learned from him. Yet, how often do you, O, Youth Minister, feel as if you’re the donkey? Regrettably, I can count way more churches where the “senior” pastor(s) behaved more like Balaam than they’d ever admit. Leaving the more “junior” Youth Minister to fill in the role of Balaam’s ass.
There’s got to be a better way, but it takes humility and openness on the part of the usually older “senior” minister to hear God’s truth. Of course, if you–the junior member of the team–are called on by God to convey a critical (both in sense of timing and tone) message, then it takes courage and purposefulness. Perhaps even some well-placed umbrage, because you are certainly going to get whacked a few times in the process, just as Balaam’s ass was. Even then, there’s no guarantee that God’s message, whatever it be, will be received. But if you don’t blurt out what needs to be said, then you’ll just look for another church to move to. Or abandon ministry altogether. You must step up and into this.
Don’t sign up for it. But be prepared for it when it comes. It will come.
So, when it does…bray. Bray loud. Like an ass.
Engage here. Too strong? Offensive idea? Or something you can relate to? Is there someone in your life whose very faith was shattered by the need to play the donkey?