Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

March 25, 2010

Don’t be like a Mule

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

I assume if someone chided me about being like a mule, I would probably not like the message they were communicating.  Wouldn’t you take it the same way?  What do we usually think of when we think of the personality of a mule?  Stubborn!  Stubborn!

Stubborn is a word that usually characterizes a mule.  Ok, I admit I am stubborn at times, so perhaps I would understand if someone remarked, “Don’t be like a mule.”

But, oh, have I got some news for those who think a mule is the epitome of stubbornness!  Let me share some information about mules.  I have loved mules from my boyhood.  The mules that plowed our garden every year probably enjoyed coming to our place because of all the love and attention they would get from me.  And as farmers would come into town by mule and wagon,  I would jump in the wagon as they passed the house.  They welcomed me to ride along and they were happy for me to talk to the mules.   I have just always had a fascination with mules.  Even our son had a mule called Crazy.  Loved that Crazy!

Fans of mules claim many things.  Mules are more cautious and sure-footed than horses, and they are less obstinate, faster and more intelligent than donkeys.  Mules can pack “dead weight” approximately 30% of their body weight, and a mule generally weighs 800 to 1000 pounds.

One of the most notable things about the mule is the sound.  Hee-haw!  Hee-haw!  These lovable creatures possess patience, endurance, vigor, strength and courage.  They have the ability to ward off aggravating animals, and even people, by their ability to kick with any of their hooves, even sideways if needed.

Now about their stubbornness!  They are not stubborn animals.  Many consider them stubborn because they seem lazy.  They are not lazy, but will express what appears to be stubbornness because they will not put themselves in danger.  What appears to be stubbornness is just the mules way of telling humans that things are not right.  When a mule seems to refuse to obey, humans should question the environment or situation at hand.  The mule is trying to communicate something.

Mules, to the surprise of most people, are very intelligent. If ever abused they will remember.  Then, perhaps you may see stubbornness as their way of reacting to the person who has been unkind to them.  The mule is trying to get even.  When a mule loves the owner, they will do their best with utmost patience.

Mules have been around for at least 3000 years.  There are many references in the Bible to mules.  It is not a translation of the words for horse or donkey.  In addition to horse and donkey, mules are mentioned in almost every translation of Scripture.  King David chose the mule to symbolize royalty for Solomon’s coronation.  During the monarchy, the mule was a royal animal.

I hope I have enlightened you about one of my favorite animals.  But let me pick up on the title of this blog, “Don’t be like the mule.”  Although the first impression may have brought the thought of stubbornness, I really had in mind something else.  I must not be like a mule when it comes to God’s Word.  Psalm 32:9 says, “Do not be like the horse or mule, which have no understanding.”

Let me put this Scripture in context.  Unless  horses or mules are bridled, they will go on their own.   But if they are to be guided, they need a bridle. The Psalmist was speaking of God’s instruction and leadership in our life in the previous verse.  “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go.”  (Psalm 32:8)    The horse or mule must be held in check by force.  The bridle brings about obedience.  But, we are to receive God’s instructions and teachings, not by force, but willingness.  God does not want forced obedience to His teachings, but spontaneous and voluntary obedience.  God does not favor a bridle on us to ‘make’ us respond to His Word.  So, let us not be like the mule that must be bridled.

What joy to obey the Lord through our love for Him.  As the mule is guided by the bridle, let our obedience to the Lord’s instruction come by choice.

“Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not ignore it.”  (Proverbs 8:3)  “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”  (Psalm 119:105)  “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.'”  (Isaiah 30:21)




  1. Lawson, thanks for the encouraging commemts today. I read them each day. I bet you had an interesting childhood. Keep us in your prayers and we will continue to pray for you and your family. Duds!

    Comment by DUDLEY HENRY — March 25, 2010 @ 8:53 am | Reply

  2. What interesting information about mules! Thanks for the application to scripture and the greater understanding it brings.

    Comment by Angela — March 25, 2010 @ 12:47 pm | Reply

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