Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Lord has Need of This

[I originally wrote this post for our crucornell.com site.]

Imagine you looked outside one morning and saw two 18 year old guys opening the door of your car and getting in.  One of em’ looks a little nervous for sure, but the other one carries himself like he owns the thing!  Maybe your first thought is; “why didn’t I lock the door!?”  But as you run outside filled with panic and  rage to yell out “Hey!  What the heck do you think you are doing?”   the nervous guy looks you square in the eye and says “The Lord has need of this.”  Then he gets inside with the other guy and they drive off, waving, with a sincere look on their face that says: 

“Don’t worry man.  This is going to be awesome!”

   [29] When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, [30] saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here.  [31] If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’ (Luke 19:29-31)

What would be going thru your mind!?  And what was going thru the disciples mind as they walked  toward Bethany to untie  some guys prize donkey.  I say “prize” not because I think it was  a county fair  blue ribbon winner but because in a first century agrarian community a donkey would have been  one valuable tool!  It was your tractor, your truck and your personal transportation.  I imagine the disciples proceeding with faith along with their usual bewilderment, no doubt hoping to get that donkey and get out of town without anybody asking questions.  “Just tell them  the Lord has need of this?  He had said.  Would that work?
I think of this passage every year at the end of September when  our ministry is getting ready to go to  the Upstate Fall getaway.  I also think about it on the second Friday night of the semester when we host a raging bonfire just off campus to welcome new students.   Sometimes I think about it on Friday afternoons when we need to move sound equipment across campus to our meeting room.  Basically, this passage comes to my mind whenever we need to transport people or equipment somewhere because I have never been to a college campus in the United States with so few cars!   In my feelings of stress and desperation I fantasize about walking calmly over to an unlocked construction van and driving off.  Of course I’d bring it back in a few days.  And if anyone asked me what I was doing, I’d tell them the truth.  “The Lord has need of this.”
” [32] So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. [33] And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” [34] And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” [35] And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it.  (Luke 19:32-35)

Looking for a natural explanation, some might speculate that  Jesus already knew the Donkey owner  or that some sort of arrangements had been  made before.    It is conceivable that the guy knew who Jesus was, -but since He said  “why are you untying my colt?  we can’t conclude that he understood all that was happening.   It seems pretty clear that they were caught off  guard.  So we could surmise that it all worked out because  the colt was owned by an old elementary school buddy of Lazarus’, but what we actually see here is the Word of God going forth with power.  I imagine that fear was replaced with excitement and paranoia with peace in this situation because of Christ’s authority.  “they told them what Jesus had said.” 

And what might have looked like a couple of high school punks gaffing a dude’s valuable asset  was actually the Lord calling a man –inviting a family perhaps to play an active  role in the advancement of His Kingdom.  It was a simple donation.  But upon that donkey Jesus entered Jerusalem; fulfilling prophesy and marching towards the cross where he made a way for us to be reconciled with God.   

Our ministry exists see students reconciled with God.  And I’m writing this to you –students and parents to ask for a simple donation.  As we labor together to advance God’s kingdom and  proclaim the good news of Christ’s reconciling work


Faster than walking and smoother than riding a donkey, the wheel is a glorious invention!  And in our ministry we don’t have enough of them!  Not even close! 

Over the years students like Ben Hutton, Joe Teirab, Sarah Furnish and Larry Lin have served our whole ministry and even those outside our ministry by bringing cars to school.  Without  guys like Barret, Tyler, and Eddy and girls like Charlene, Nicole, and Tricia the army of God at Cornell would be even less mobile than it is now! 

And I am writing this post specifically to ask students and parents to please pray and consider seriously the benefits of bringing a car to school.

If you have a car, or if you can possibly scrape together the means to buy one on craigslist I am saying to you now,
The Lord has need of it!

I know there are many different factors and concerns related to this issue.  In my next post, I will take the time to sketch out a little cost/benefit analysis.  

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