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Nov 01, 2017 2198 Chevalier Benny Punnathara

Shortcut to a Spiritually Rich Life

You may be familiar with the story of a father and son who traveled with a donkey. Shortly after they began their journey, a bystander commented, “What kind of people are they! They have a perfectly fine donkey, but instead of riding him, they are simply walking beside him!” When they heard this, the father and son thought that it was a good idea. The father said to his son, “You should ride the donkey. Why tire yourself?” The son jumped on the donkey and they continued on their journey.

After going only a short distance, another bystander said, “What an arrogant son this is! See how he is having his aged father walk while he is comfortably riding on a donkey!” As soon as he heard this, the son jumped down from the donkey and made his father ride instead. But they had not gotten far when the next set of comments came, “What a hard-hearted father! He has his son walk while he proudly rides on the donkey!”

The father then encouraged his son as well to ride on the donkey. While they rode together, an onlooker saw them and cried out, “What cruelty toward an animal! Look at that poor, silent donkey, unable to bear the weight of both of these people. Surely that donkey will collapse and fall down any time now! The father and son thought that this may be true and immediately got off the donkey.

They discussed the situation amongst themselves. “Now what should we do? No matter what we do, people don’t seem to agree with what we have decided.” After much discussion, they came up with an idea. They tied the donkey on bamboo poles and carried the poles on their shoulders. When people saw them next, they ridiculed them, “Here are two donkeys hauling another donkey!”

Does the story of this father and son resonate in your life? When we direct the path of our lives based on what other people say, our lives will be wasted. Humans have the capacity to turn any positive action into a seemingly negative one, and to turn any harmful decision into a seemingly helpful one. So, do not give undue importance to what people think of you and your decisions. Rather, concern yourself with another question, “What is God thinking of me?”

One reason behind our hurts, weaknesses, and frustrations is the opinions of others. When we give extensive attention to the talk of the world, we become lethargic. But when we turn to the Word of God, His words fortify us. When we aim for what pleases God, we can grow as a Christian. “Am I now currying favor with human beings or God? Or am I seeking to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).


Lord, reveal to me the time and energy I spent pleasing people. Give me the grace to do only what pleases You. Fill me with fear of You so that I may never be fearful of the hurtful words and aversions of others. Lord God, grant me the wisdom to discern what it is that You are trying to tell me. Let your Word rule upon me. Amen.


Chevalier Benny Punnathara

Chevalier Benny Punnathara has authored many books on the faith life which have been translated into several languages. In 2012, then Pope Benedict XVI awarded the title of ‘Chevalier’ to Punnathara for his outstanding contributions to the Catholic Church and society. In addition to being the founder of Shalom ministries, Punnathara serves as the Chairman of Shalom Media. He and his wife, Stella, an author and speaker, live in India along with their two children.

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