Sixth Monday/Holy Week
Sometimes I write myself into the story as I’m reading the Bible. I choose a character to embody and try to figure out how I’d respond if I were there. Today I read about Jesus sending two of his followers ahead of him to procure the donkey he needed in order to enter Jerusalem as a king. It’s in Mark 11 if you want to look it up. Jesus said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you and you will find a colt there that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this: ‘The Lord has need of it and will return it right away.’ ” If I imagine I’m one of those disciples, I think I might say, “That’s it? That’s your plan? ” Then I’d say ok, because when I’m stressed I revert to people pleasing. But the whole way into town I’d be trying to manufacture a plan B. I’d be picturing the look on the owner’s face as we were taking his property. I’d be saying to my friend, “Look, we know this guy isn’t going to just let us walk away with this colt, just because we say the Lord needs it. We should pay him a little something. Got any money? Me either. How about we trade him for it? How much are gently used sandals worth? Maybe we could offer a few hours of manual labor?” And so on. What a waste of time and energy. When all I needed to do was trust and obey. To follow what Jesus said: “Say I have need of it and will return it.” Guess what? It worked!
How much time do I spend trying to strategize, manipulate or otherwise control people and situations? When Jesus is just saying, “Trust me. I’ve got this.” Sometimes – from my point of view anyway — what he says doesn’t make sense, or at least has some critical missing pieces. Then I have to decide if I’m going to follow anyway, or come up with a plan B, which sounds so like the logical, rational thing to do. Other times he asks me to just wait when I can see so clearly what action I need to take. Again, why should I wait, when I could just get this done? No good reason, except that I feel a check from his Spirit. I might still come up with a plan B in case the waiting got to me.
I have to be listening in order to even hear that there’s a plan. And then I need to pray that I’m in tune enough to follow, despite what it looks like. To trust that Plan A is The Plan. Am I asking to hear from God? Am I waiting for him to speak? When he does show me the way, am I willing let go of my need to be in control or manage my reputation to follow? Am I willing to give up my plan B?
Today’s prayer practice: prayer of relinquishment
Find a quiet space and read Mark 11:1-11. Notice if there’s a word, phrase or character that stands out to you. When facing a decision or a crossroads, how do you decide what action to take? Do you make your best judgment call? Go with your gut? Pray for wisdom? If you receive a partial answer from God, what’s at risk if you choose to follow? Your reputation? Your independent streak? Your self image? What’s your plan B? Are you willing to let that go? Read the scripture again and be still. Listen as you wait to see if there’s something God might be inviting you to release.