Parenting from a Donkey

Parenting from a Donkey

Jesus was a “different kind of king”* This was evident in many ways, and highlighted by the unexpected way he entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

Custom was that a king entered a town with a full show of prestige, power, and authority as a conquering hero on a prancing stallion. Instead, on Palm Sunday, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a young donkey — a lowly beast of burden. (This is like the difference between leading a modern day parade by driving a big black Hummer versus riding a bicycle with chubby tires and fenders!)

People of that time viewed the donkey as a universally recognized symbol of gentleness, service, humility, and peace. And even though many of them knew the prophecy “Rejoice greatly… your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey” (Zech. 9:9), this unconventional entrance must have flipped their ideas of authority on their head. And then, as Jesus rode to a hill overlooking the city, they watched the humble King weep in compassion for the lost, wayward, and hurting people.

So how can we be a “Different Kind of Parent” in the same way that Christ was a “Different Kind of King?”

When we enter into our child’s interactions, do we enter on our “high horse”, swollen with our authority and self-importance, or do we enter as Jesus did — gently, peacefully, and with humility? Do we see our child’s need beneath their misbehavior, and have compassion on them? Do we get down on their level? Do we listen before we talk? “Righteousness and victory” (not control of a child’s outward behavior) flow from a place of humility.

Even though Jesus knew his entrance set in motion events that would lead to his death, he still came to serve the wayward children he so desperately loved — even unto death on the cross. As you contemplate the richness of Christ’s death for you this Easter, lay hold of the righteous, victorious humility that overflows from his grace to us.

*Thanks to our Pastor Kevin Sharpe for this inspirational sermon title.

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