Home > Christian Living > clinging to the sycamore tree!

clinging to the sycamore tree!

so i read the story today in the bible about a “wii” little man. his name was zach (short for zacchaeus).

It goes something like this:
Then Jesus entered and walked through Jericho. There was a man there, his name Zacchaeus, the head tax man and quite rich. He wanted desperately to see Jesus, but the crowd was in his way—he was a short man and couldn’t see over the crowd. So he ran on ahead and climbed up in a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus when he came by. When Jesus got to the tree, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down. Today is my day to be a guest in your home.” Zacchaeus scrambled out of the tree, hardly believing his good luck, delighted to take Jesus home with him. Everyone who saw the incident was indignant and grumped, “What business does he have getting cozy with this crook?” Zacchaeus just stood there, a little stunned. He stammered apologetically, “Master, I give away half my income to the poor—and if I’m caught cheating, I pay four times the damages.” Jesus said, “Today is salvation day in this home! Here he is: Zacchaeus, son of Abraham! For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost.”

do you have those moments when the scriptures teach you something completely different than the ways that you have previously heard them taught? there are some really good life implications to be learned from this set of passages like jesus hanging out with misfits, being generous with what you’ve been blessed with, going above and beyond what’s required, the way to salvation (zach didn’t buy his salvation. he simply accepted that jesus was more satisfying than the almighty dollar and his life was radically changed so that it was god-honoring and neighbor-loving!), and so on.
but I want to give you a glimpse at how god is starting to move in my life. as i read through these verses today, the word “safety” leaps off of the pages. you see, zach wanted to check out what jesus was up to, but because he felt like he was too small, it was not a very safe move for him to attempt pushing his way through the crowd of people to get to jesus. instead, he decides to get a birds eye view of jesus. i would even venture to say that by climbing this tree and setting his eyes on jesus, he felt like he was a part of what jesus was doing. do you see where i’m headed with this? this is how i have responded to the successful rescue mission that god launched in order to save my life. for so long, i felt that because i’ve been able to see god move in the lives of others and in the church, that i was a part of what he is doing. don’t get me wrong, god has included me in on some very cool things that he is doing and for that, i am humbled and grateful. but after reading this passage today, i feel like i’m just playing it safe; that i’m up in the tree watching how god is working. up until now, i felt like i was a part of it, but now i’m not so sure.
you see, god is calling me out of the tree… down into the crowd of people who so desperately need him… where it’s not very safe… where it could jeopardize my current life situation… where i could get trampled on and possibly suffer death. not only that, but what about how i’ve treated all of those people in the past? just like zach the i.r.s. guy, i’ve oppressed them! by not following the second greatest commandment to love my neighbor as myself, i’ve sinned against them because i haven’t loved them like i love me! so it may not be by accident that i get trampled on when i get down there!
but jesus is looking me straight in the eyes and telling me that he wants to come to my house. now i take joy in the fact that jesus wants to come to my house. how cool is that! but as i jump from the sycamore tree, i feel like i have to confess to him that i have not been a good steward of what has been given to me. i feel like something has to change before he can come to my house because when he gets there, he will see that i’m living better than most! and i know he will not be proud of that. he’s going to ask me why i have all of these things and yet there are some just outside my house who are starving, homeless, orphaned, exploited, uneducated, infected with deadly diseases and viruses, has no clean water to drink, has no shoes to wear. what will i tell him? how will i answer that question? the fact is, there is no good answer or reason other than selfishness, greed and irresponsibility, all of which will soon be the reason for his bloody crucifixion.
so we get to the part where zach is just standing there…stunned.
here is where i’m at. i’m at this stage where it is all very overwhelming to me and all i can do is stand here stunned! i can’t even ask the question, “what should i do” because we all know the answer to that. this isn’t some parable that jesus taught where some knock-off scholar or theologian can pick some different meaning from it and make it a little more ear-tickling to us rich folks! zach was a real life person moved to real life action by real life faith! he threw off the safety net that he himself fabricated because he was able to see the deformities and breaches in the net.
so i am now looking at ways to avoid being safe. sound weird (different) right? believe me, it is! but that’s who god is calling me to be. so i will now have to prepare for my descent from the sycamore tree………….
Categories: Christian Living
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