Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lessons from Nazareth | Donkey Path Living

Mountain Towns Developed By Donkeys!
Photo by letdown102

On my recent trip to the Holy Land, our tour group visited the city of Nazareth. This is the small town where Jesus grew up, after His birth in Bethlehem and hide out in Egypt (see Matthew 2). If you've ever been to Nazareth, then you know how hilly and mountainous that part of Galilee is. When you drive through the city, there is no such thing as a straight road. Homes, apartments, and business are all perched up on the hillsides around a zig-zag maze of winding streets. It's crazy!

Our guide made the comment that ancient towns built into sides of hills were built around the paths that were created by donkeys. You see, in earlier days, the donkey was the primary beast of burden. People would load their donkeys down with the supplies that they needed transported, and then the donkeys would discover the easiest path on the hillside to travel. All of these donkeys would travel the same path, which created a well-worn, zig-zag street up the side of the mountain or hill. Then, the people would build their small village around the donkey path. If you visit these towns in Israel, you can see exactly what I'm talking about when you look at a village built into the side of a mountain.

The Path of Least Resistance

We've all heard the saying the shortest distance is a straight line between two points. While this is a true statement, a straight line up the side of a mountain with a couple of hundred pounds of stuff on your back is not the most intelligent path to take. The lowly donkey knows this.

Donkeys instinctively take the path of least resistance even though it may be the longer way to travel. They have a unique ability to uncover and travel the easiest path up the side of a hill or mountain in order to get to the top and onto the other side. Then, the people of the town were able to build their homes, businesses, and places of worship around the road created by their donkeys.

Photo by tiexano
Life Lessons from a Donkey

So what's the takeaway here? What can we learn from the lowly donkey? All of us have mountains in our lives that we need to travel. We have struggles, disappointments, opportunities, and goals that look difficult to get over. So, our natural tendency is to face our "mountains" head-on and try to create a straight path up to reach the top.

The problem we typically run into, though, is that we get discouraged and defeated taking the shorter but more difficult path. We simply give up out of pure exhaustion. But, if we simply take a little extra time to look all around us in every direction, we can probably discover an easier path in order to accomplish the task before us. That path is probably going to look like a zig-zag maze of going multiple directions, but eventually it's going to get us to the top of our destination.

So, how about you? Are you going through a time of great difficulty and have a massive mountain to climb? Or, maybe you have set before yourself a massive goal that seems impossible to achieve? Whatever the challenge may be that is before you today, consider the ways of the donkey. Look all around you in every direction and take an easier path of multiple directions in order to get where you need to go.

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