At some point in history someone decided to write a song to help teach children the story of Zacchaeus. If you’re like me it still rings in your head today.
“Zacchaeus was a wee little man, and a wee little man was he. He climbed up in the sycamore tree for the Lord he wanted to see. And as the Savior passed that way, He looked up in the tree. And He said,’ Zacchaeus you come down for I’m going to your house today. I’m going to your house today’.”
If we only understand the story from this song we come up with a few conclusions:
1. It’s ok to make fun of a short man.
2. He wanted to see Jesus
3. Jesus is coming to his house today.
Recently though, I was reading Luke’s account in Luke 19:1-10 and 3 things came to mind that I hadn’t noticed before.
1. We see the physical limitation but Jesus saw the spiritual need.
Ever since I was a kid, if someone asked me about Zacchaeus, his short stature came to mind. However, that’s not what Jesus saw. Jesus looked past the shrewd dealings of a vertically challenged tax-collector and saw his real need – forgiveness of his sins and new life in Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, most of the people I interact with, I notice more of the externals than the far more important truth that they were created in the image of God and are in need of a Savior.
2. Everything changes when you know you’re loved.
For years, Zacchaeus had cheated and swindled people out of money. No one loved him. We don’t know what exactly Jesus said but something flipped in Zacchaeus’ heart. He left his encounter with Jesus giving back four times the amount he had taken. (vs. 8) Interestingly, enough Zacchaeus went above and beyond what was required by the law. (The law only required that you pay back double what was stolen) What changed this stingy man? Jesus. Zacchaeus woke up that day a taker and went to sleep that night a giver. Want to know more about Jesus and the forgiveness He offers? Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. If you want to experience the love of God like Zacchaeus did, you have to get close enough to experience it.
Zacchaeus had no doubt heard about Jesus. (vs. 3) He wanted to find out more about him so he climbed a tree. He did something about his questions, his fears, his doubts. I’m sure that climbing a tree at first thought seemed like a crazy idea to Zacchaeus.
Maybe reading your bible or spending time in prayer seems like a crazy idea to you? It’s the tree you’re staring at in your life. I’d encourage you to start small because quality is more important than quantity. Reading and thinking about one verse is far more important than reading chapters of the bible and not being able to remember anything. Start with one verse of the bible and ask yourself these questions.
What does it say about God?
How did it apply to the people or group it was written to?
How or does it apply to me today?
Start praying specific prayers so you can see God show up in specific ways.
Make church a priority and get involved with people who can encourage you in your faith.
What advice would you share?