Donkey-Hunting Days: on small tasks and grand purpose

lost donkeys

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord, “And my ways are far beyond anything you can imagine.”

Isaiah 55:8


I was reading 1 Samuel 9 this week, a story that starts out with a young Saul looking for his father’s donkeys and ends with an unexpected twist. After searching everywhere for the lost donkeys, Saul and his servant seek out the man of God, hoping, as a last resort, that he might be able to tell them where else to look. The seer does eventually answer their question about the donkeys, but not before announcing that Saul was the one God had just chosen to be Israel’s first king.

How bizarre that must have sounded to Saul, who started his day with one goal: find the donkeys.

He was not expecting meals of honor and anointing oil and prophecies about ruling the country or being the chosen one. He was barely expecting to be successful at donkey-hunting.

And yet, God had a different purpose for this day than Saul did.

I think, especially on the day I read this: sick-in-bed day #3, at the end of 9 months of nausea, in the midst of 10 months of transition, the story of Saul’s day was reassuring. Sometimes I look at all I’m working toward and it’s moving so slowly that I wonder if it will add up to anything at all. I feel like I have a lot of donkey-hunting days.

But the way Saul’s day turned out is a reminder to me that all I need to do is be faithful with the task before me and open to the possibility that God might have something entirely different in mind.

We never know for sure what our many, simple donkey-hunting days are building toward.

And He can build grand, sweeping moments into any one of them. 

It is His to infuse my moments with calling and purpose. It is mine simply to listen and look for His direction – even in small things like “where should I look next for the donkeys?”

So may I lean forward, content to do my best with what’s in front of me and, at the same time, expecting Him to use a life that seeks Him out in ways I could never imagine.



Help me to trust you even with days that feel monotonous and unimportant: with transition days and sick days, with moving days and just meet-basic-needs days. You have made each of them and I can treat them as sacred unto you.

If I use them, even the simplest of them, just to be faithful to set my heart on you, you will be faithful not to waste it.


“…He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

Hebrews 11:6

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