The Farmer and the Donkey – Part 2

But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” –Genesis 50:19-20

There is a story about a farmer’s donkey that had fallen into an old, abandoned well. The farmer, unable to figure a way to get the donkey out of the well, decided to bury it and cover the whole mess up. As the farmer shoveled dirt into the well, the donkey would shake the dirt off and take a step up. After a lot of shoveling, the donkey finally stepped over the edge of the well and trotted off.

Today, let’s look from the perspective of the farmer. While I’m not certain about the intelligence of donkeys, if I were the farmer, I wouldn’t be expecting much help from the donkey in the future. How would one try to convey to the donkey, “Oh, sorry about trying to bury you”?

To me, a lesson we can learn from the story is that God is able to bring good from our errors. The farmer erred in not filling up and covering the well in the first place. It was his fault that the donkey fell into the well. What was the farmer’s solution to the problem? He decided to kill the donkey and cover the whole mess up!

Covering up for mistakes and sins sounds pretty familiar. Fortunately, God is all-powerful, and He is able to do what we cannot. He is able to transform even the worst intentions into good outcomes. This doesn’t mean that we should expect God to remove the natural consequences for our poor decisions. In fact, I think He only rarely does this; however, because God is good, I believe He provides opportunities for some good to result.

Here’s a challenge for you today: when you realize you’ve sinned or otherwise messed something up, go straight to God. Ask Him to forgive you and always ask God to bring good out of every situation.

1. When have you recently tried to “bury the donkey” by covering up some sin, mistake or poor decision?

2. What good might result from admitting the wrong and addressing it head-on with God and others around you?

Genesis 45:1-11; 2 Corinthians 7:9-10; Romans 8:28

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Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, editor, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord Culture Blog also appears on Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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