Stepping Up

What challenge are you facing?

It is amazing how powerful stories are in our lives. We recently bought some children’s books for our grandchildren and one of the stories called “The Wonkey Donkey” became an instant hit. The children wanted the story read repeatedly. It occurred to me that most ancient cultures had an oral based tradition. The culture and history were passed down through stories told from generation to generation. So it is with our families, there are stories that are brought up time and time again when families gather. This can be the stuff of family legend; I often refer to them as them “remember when” times.


Jesus obviously understood the power of parables and stories as there are 55 recorded in different parts of the gospels. His motivation was possibly that stories are memorable and robust, even with odd words changed here and there they are unlikely to lose their meaning. They tended to be about familiar, simple situations that the people could easily identify with and understand.


While I was recently sorting through more stuff as we declutter, I came across some stories I used to use with our Year 7 and 8 students when I was teaching. I started to read a couple and noticed how applicable the following story is to situations many people find themselves in today. Have a read for yourself and come to your own conclusion.


One day a farmer’s donkey fell into a well. The animal cried for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn’t worth it to try and retrieve the donkey. He invited all his neighbours to come over and help him. They all grabbed dirt and began to shovel dirt into the well.


At first, the donkey didn’t realise what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he quieted down. A few shovel-loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel ­of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer’s neighbours continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!


Always remember in life that:

  • Life is going to throw dirt on you.
  • The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up.
  • Each of our troubles is a stepping-stone.
  • We can get out of the deepest wells by not stopping, never giving up, and by taking a step up.
  • In this world people will always throw stones in the path of your success, it depends on you whether you make them form a wall or a bridge!


Discussion Questions:

  1. What is your next step up?
  2. What are you presently facing?
  3. Or what challenges is someone you know facing?



Paul Monahan