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Are You Like a Mule?

Perhaps you heard the old story of the stubborn, balky mule? It goes like this: Two farmers were riding home in a wagon one day. The wagon was being drawn by a mule and the mule was notorious for balking. Once he balked it took hours of pulling, tugging and beating to convince him to be on his way — sometimes even building a fire under him didn't help.

This day was one of those days. The mule balked. The first farmer said, "You're driving, what are you going to do?" The second farmer replied, "I'm going to have a little talk with him — perhaps I can persuade him that we need to be traveling on." So, he climbed down, went to the nearby rail fence and picked up a six-foot cedar rail (now, you faint-hearted, animal rights activists who have never dealt with a mule may want to stop reading at this point). The farmer walked to the front of the mule, drew back and hit him right between the eyes and knocked the mule to his knees. The mule scrambled back to his feet stunned and quite shaken. The farmer reached over and gently whispered something in the mule's ear. Then, he climbed back onto the driver's seat, flicked the reins and off they went as a brisk trot.

The first farmer asked, "Why did you hit him? I thought you said you were only going to talk to him." The second farmer answered pointedly, "Well, I had to get his attention first!"

That is the nature of mules but human beings are not to act like mules — they are to act like reasonable, rational, thinking beings. We should have the convictions and be willing to stand with courage for what we believe (I Cor. 15:58; Jude 3). But Samuel told King Saul that stubbornness was lawlessness and idolatry (I Sam. 15:23). The Lord cannot stand a "wishy-washy" person (Rev. 3:15-16), because such a person has no real convictions.

Most folks don't ride in wagons drawn by mules anymore. Rail fences are virtually nonexistent, except for a few decorative ones. But stubbornness remains evident and not always in mules. If I have your attention, let me whisper gently in your ear that you give in and yield your will to God's!

For His Cause,
Tim Woodward