Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Man, The Boy, and the Donkey: A Reminder from an Ancient Fable

I include here a fable by Aesop for your enjoyment:

"A MAN and his son were once going with their Donkey to market. As they were walking along by its side a countryman passed them and said: “You fools, what is a Donkey for but to ride upon?”

So the Man put the Boy on the Donkey and they went on their way. But soon they passed a group of men, one of whom said: “See that lazy youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides.”

So the Man ordered his Boy to get off, and got on himself. But they hadn’t gone far when they passed two women, one of whom said to the other: “Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge along.”

Well, the Man didn’t know what to do, but at last he took his Boy up before him on the Donkey. By this time they had come to the town, and the passers-by began to jeer and point at them. The Man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at. The men said: “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor Donkey of yours—you and your hulking son?”

The Man and Boy got off and tried to think what to do. They thought and they thought, till at last they cut down a pole, tied the Donkey’s feet to it, and raised the pole and the Donkey to their shoulders. They went along amid the laughter of all who met them till they came to Market Bridge, when the Donkey, getting one of his feet loose, kicked out and caused the Boy to drop his end of the pole. In the struggle the Donkey fell over the bridge, and his fore-feet being tied together he was drowned.

 “That will teach you,” said an old man who had followed them:  PLEASE ALL, AND YOU WILL PLEASE NONE."  (Source:

While this fable was written back in the sixth century B.C., the truth it contains is as valid today as it was then.

In our 21st century culture, voices abound.  Some speak strongly, convinced they are right.  And perhaps their voices contain a bit of truth.  Others speak authoritatively, insisting their way is the correct one.  Their thoughts, too, may include certain elements of verity.  In sifting through the ideas around us, however, we can respond in a double-minded fashion, tossing and turning with every wind of doctrine that comes to our ears, or we can be stedfast in the truth.

As children of God, we must evaluate everything by Scripture, weighing all things, pondering every idea in the light of God's eternal Book.  Voices abound, but God's eternal Voice is what matters.  

May God fill us with His righteous judgments and transform our thinking with His Word!  In patterning our lives after this eternal truth, we can please God with our lives and, in the courts of eternity, rejoice to hear commendation from the One Whose opinion lasts eternally, the God of Heaven!

We can trust our God of truth and can order our lives by His every precept.  From the many voices that surround us, then, let us set our course by this Book and please our eternal God!

Certain folks may mock and jeer.  Some too may scowl or scorn.  Yet others may laugh outright.  But if we order our lives in His Word, we can actually please the One Whose opinion is truth and Whose truth completely matters.

While we might please few men, we can please an eternal God.

And isn't that what life is all about anyway?

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