If I’d heard it once, I had heard it a thousand times. This time was when there was some contention between my brother and myself. We worked together in a family business. My Dad said it often, “Don’t worry about the mule, boys. Just load the wagon.”
We didn’t have a mule. We lived in town. But, my Dad, who had been raised on a farm, six miles off the hard road, had kept many of the sayings he had heard in the country. This one, about the mule, was one of his favorites. It was his way of telling us to mind our own business. Like most sons, we didn’t love it, at the time.
I have found, as I have gotten older, and taken on more responsibility, that there was more truth to those sayings, than poetry. As a pastor, they mean a great deal to me, now. I am reminded any time folks have problems worrying about what others are doing, or not doing. Peter was guilty of that, in John 21, when Jesus informed him of his future use, after being restored. He asked, about John, “And what shall this man do?” Jesus’ response was similar to my Dad’s saying. He informed Peter that he was out of bounds with his question. I would like to draw just a few conclusions from “The mule.”
1. Every One of us has matters to oversee. See to your own matters.
2. If someone is not directly under our supervision, leave them alone. Romans 14:4 says “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.”
3. Worrying about those who we do not lead, and who are not responsible to us, is just borrowing trouble. We have enough to be concerned with, already.
4. Comparing to others within the organization, or church, competing with them, and complaining about them is harmful to the morale of the group. Those things help no individual, and are certainly harmful to the group.
My Dad is certainly a hero to me. I still don’t know how he led us, in that family business, and kept his sanity. He is now preparing for treatment after having a cancerous tumor removed from his neck. Please help us pray for him during this time. I know, soon enough, my brother and I will wish we could hear him say, one more time, “Don’t worry about the mule, son. Just load the wagon.”