Sermon Outline: "Wanted: Two-legged Donkeys"

Texts: Matthew 21:3; Mark 11:3; Luke 19:31

O. Afton Linger is a retired Baptist minister residing in Hendersonville, North Carolina.



1. Some people feel that they are insignificant and that God does not need them in His service. A study of our texts will show that it was said even of a donkey that "the Lord hath need of it."

2. Three of the Gospel writers noted that Jesus had need of a lowly beast of burden when He made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

3. The Bible is filled with instances in which the Lord God has taken seemingly insignificant things to be used to accomplish His will. Humble but surrendered persons—the so-called "little people"—have been used to do great exploits.

(Cf. Gen. 12:1; Judges 6:14; 1 Kings 19:19; Isa. 6:8; Acts 26:16.)


I. "The Lord Hath Need of [You]"— Mark 11:3.

1. God needs your prayers. With all of the promises and power back of our needs, He still desires our prayers. (Cf. Jer. 33:3; Zech. 13:9; Matt. 7:7; Luke 18:1; John 16:24; Eph. 6:18; 1 Thess. 5:17.)

2. Your praise is wanted and needed by the Almighty. This is proved in both the Old and the New Testament records and injunctions. (Cf. Ps. 9:11; 33:2; 67:3; Isa. 42:12; Luke 19:37-40; Heb. 13:15; 1 Peter 2:9.)

3. The Lord God has need of your talents. However small or insignificant they may be, God can always use dedicated talents. God used a donkey to rebuke Balaam (Num. 22:27 ff). He used an other such animal to carry the King of kings in His triumphal entry. Even though it was a common little beast of burden, it was said of that four-legged donkey, "The Lord hath need of it" (Mark 11:3). Even so, it may be said of the most humble, surrendered, dedicated, "two-legged donkey"—"the Lord hath need of [him]." Whether our talents are great or small, they should be laid lovingly upon the altar of worship and service to Christ. We should be willing to answer the Master's bidding when it is said that He "hath need of [us]." (Cf. Matt. 18:24; 25:15.)

4. Your most selfish and cherished talent may be needed in the work of the Lord. He has first claim upon us. He is still saying, "My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways" (Prov! 23:26). From the earliest revealed will and Word of God until now, our Creator has called for our consecration, so that He may use us to do His will in the world. (Ex. 32:29; 1 Chron. 29:5; Rom. 12:1, 2.)

Just as Jesus had need of that "fourlegged donkey," He now has need of "two-legged donkeys." When we are willing to be as lowly as a donkey in our dedication to Christ, He will use us. Let us relinquish every last claim to ourselves, and place our lives on the altar for our Saviour, for "the Lord hath need of [us]."

II. The Fleshly Heart Refuses to Answer the Master's Call for Worship and Service.

1. Faithlessness and unbelief deny that God has any claim upon an individual's life. Such persons cannot under stand that Omnipotence has need of redeemed human instrumentality. The proof is that Christ was rejected when He came to His own world. (Cf. Mark 6:3; Luke 4:28, 29; John 1:11; 7:7.)

2. The unregenerate heart is selfish, self-centered, and self-sufficient. Many today, as did the citizens of our Lord's hometown, forfeit the opportunity and privilege of availing themselves of His power and blessing. Unbelief bars us from the opportunity to experience Christ's spiritual and physical healing. (Cf. Matt. 13:58; Mark 6:6.)

3. Human weakness frequently waits until the opportunity of salvation and service has passed them by. There are few things more pitiful than lost opportunity. (Cf. 2 Kings 13:19; Jer. 8:20; Matt. 25:10, 26, 27, 44, 45; 26:40, 41; Luke 19:41, 42; John 20:19, 20.)

4. Simulation cannot possibly take the place of genuine surrender. Too many go only halfway with the Lord. To be a genuine disciple of Jesus, one must follow Him without one backward glance. The world, the flesh, and the devil would dull our consciences into accepting substitutes and simulated devotion. There can be no compromise. As the late J. Rufus Moseley used to say, "Jesus must have the whole of everyone He baptizes, his whole spirit, mind, soul, and body. At the point of entire yieldedness and response on our part, He is always ready to take the entire free possession of us and give us as much of His Gift of the Holy Spirit as we are capable of receiving."

5. Selfishness refuses to answer the call when it is said, "The master hath need of [him]." Such persons clutch tightly all that is their own, thinking of no one else. Instead of being "available" and "expendable" they remain "tied," as was the donkey before the Master used him. They are tied to fleshly, worldly ambitions and indulgences. Our Lord is not able to use donkeys that remain "tied." Sometimes it may be possible for the disciples of Jesus to go and loose these tied "two-legged donkeys" for Christian service. Again, by the grace of God, they may be enlightened by the Holy Spirit and answer the Lord's call when they are needed.


1. If the donkey, a small, common beast of burden, is needed and can be used of the Saviour, how much more can human beings—"two-legged donkeys"—be used! That is, they may be used if they will become humble enough and dedicated enough.

2. By the very fact of the insignificance and commonness of the donkey upon which Jesus rode, the people were able to see Him and glorify Him. Likewise we, as "two-legged donkeys," may make it possible for Christ to be glorified if we yield our talents (however small) to the Master's service. (Cf. Zech. 9:9; Matt. 21:4, 5.)

3. Let us not make the mistake that many did of hailing Christ on the day of the triumphal entry and then crying, "Crucify  Him!" several days later. It has been said, "Making Christ King and keeping Christ King are two imperative obligations lying across the threshold of every Christian's doorway. Somebody knocks on the door of your heart and asks, 'Who's King here? Who's the real boss of this life?' What answer can honestly be returned?"

4. Our Lord Jesus needs to continue His "triumphal entry" into the hearts and lives of mankind today. Dare we remain "tied" to selfish desires, the things of this world, or anything that would keep us from being used in His service? Rather, let us determine that, by the grace of God, we shall be "two-legged donkeys," permitting ourselves to be untied, and giving our soul, mind, body, and spirit completely and lovingly to His worship and work.

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O. Afton Linger is a retired Baptist minister residing in Hendersonville, North Carolina.

November 1977

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