It was a beautiful morning in Jerusalem There were rumors that one about to become King of the Jews would be making a triumphal entry into the City. People were everywhere; it was Passover season.
There was a donkey grazing in a back yard, enjoying the sunshine and a relaxed day free from the labors of a beast of burden. A man approached him. He was an ordinary fellow in appearance, but he had a surprising message. "The Master has need of you." Who. Me? The donkey was perplexed. Who was this "Master," and why would he need a humble donkey. He wanted to refuse, even while the visitor began to untie him from his post. Clearly, the Master needed a ride, but Why Me? A conquering king typically made his entrance on a horse, but a donkey?
The donkey had many objections besides just the "Why me" question. There must be more appropriate, grander conveyances around town. Self doubt filled his thoughts. People were waving palm branches and throwing them in the street to make way for the coming king. What if he slipped on the palms and let the Master down? And the children, they were everywhere-what if one would stumble into his path and get trampled. He couldn't possibly be qualified for this daunting task There was also the noise of the crowd; what about the quiet peaceful time he had planned for this day?
"The Master has need of you." Reluctantly, on that first Palm Sunday, the donkey accepted his responsibility-to hold the Master high for all to see. Pure and simple, it's donkey work.
And what does a Palm Sunday story have to do with these last days of the school year?
Reflecting on this past year I have heard many stories from you. Stories about going the extra mile or ten in your job. One more parent conference over a struggling child. It's donkey work. Surrender your much needed prep time because of an emergency. Donkey work. Sit in yet another redundant meeting unpacking, embedding, aligning the standards. Donkey work. Taking on another committee assignment. Donkey work. Spend extra time after school with a student who is faltering. Donkey work.
Donkey work---carried out to hold the Master high for all to see.
This donkey work wasn't mentioned in the pedagogy courses or in the fine print in your contract, but when you were called upon, you answered the Master's call.
Thank you for doing that. Thank you for holding the Master high for all to see. Thank you for being faithful to the cause, even though you may not see the fruit of your labors for many years. Maybe you never will see the fruit, but deep in the heart of that child or the class or colleague whom you helped is that picture of you and your donkey work, holding the Master high for all to see.
Thank you also for your quick and positive response when we called on you to assist with Compass activities, sharing our message, and in many cases devoting a precious weekend to a Daniel weekend. That also was donkey work. I truly am humbled to work with you as we seek to transform our schools with God's love and truth. I am thrilled to hear of victories because of your faithfulness. I also hear of struggles, in the midst of which I hear your heart cry to magnify the Lord before your students and colleagues. Donkey work. Holding the Master high for all to see.
Have a great summer. I pray that those weeks will hold much blessing for you. I hope you will enjoy growth professionally and personally and in your walk with God. I know there will be graduate classes, curriculum writing, some service and mission projects, and hopefully some great road trips and time with family. I have heard about a few weddings, new babies or grands, and in the next few days several of you will shed a few proud tears as you hear "Pomp and Circumstance" and watch your baby receive a diploma and commence a new phase of life.
Be blessed, and keep shining. And hold the Master high for all to see.