Yesterday I told you all that I’d like your help in coming up with some questions for a devo for the summer camp I work with. Below you’ll find my devo…so far. But I still need some questions.
Please let me know what you think! Thanks!!!
If you’re like me, you’ve heard this story so many times that you know the ending before you finish reading it. But if you’re like me, you may have also sang the little song so many times that the lessons to be learned from the story have gotten lost along the way.
Four characters give us unique insight on what happened that day…
You might think the story is about Zaccheus looking for (and finding) Jesus. That’s certainly one way to look at it, but notice that it says, “when Jesus came to the place…” So it is safe to assume that Jesus was looking for Zaccheus, and that he knew exactly where to find him. Why Zaccheus? We all know he was a tax collector, but he wasn’t just any old tax collector. He was the chief tax collector. So, if Zaccheus’ life could be changed, then all the other tax collectors working under him could also be affected. The transformation in Zaccheus’ life would impact everyone, especially those who knew him before the transition. Every day Jesus sets out to change the hearts of those around us, and God often uses us as His agents of that change.
- The Crowd
You’d think the crowd would want the man who takes their money to change…or for Jesus to lecture him. Instead, the crowd did then what it continues to do today. You know, there are lots of people who fight change or who don’t think people (including themselves) can change. As a result, they keep others away. Think about it. Do you point people to Jesus, or do you push them away by how you live your life? Do you know all the church answers in your head, but fail to live them out in your daily life? Look at who you have chosen as your friends. They help mold you into the person you are. Friends either draw you to or push you away from Jesus. Think about what your friends do for you, but more importantly, think about what kind of friend you are.
Do you think Zaccheus got up early that day and had any idea what was going to happen? Do you think he told his servants to get the house ready and cook a big meal because Jesus was coming home with him for dinner? No way!!! Zaccheus was just hoping to get a glimpse of this man called Jesus. What about you? When you get up each day, do you prepare as if Jesus is spending the day with you, or are you satisfied with just a glimpse? Once you’ve been really touched by Jesus, you can’t help but DO something…sing, pray, laugh, cry, serve, and yes…even change.
So here’s this guy Zaccheus. And on that day when Jesus came, Zaccheus saw himself for the first time in the light of Jesus, and he changed. Did you catch how much his heart was changed? He gave half of what he had to the poor. And out of the half he had left, he gave back four times what he had cheated/stolen from others. Then Jesus laid out his mission “to seek and save those who are lost,” which is exactly what He did that day for Zaccheus. What is your mission where God has planted you?
- The Tree
I bet you were wondering where I’d get the 4th character, right?
The tree is definitely a character in this story! Think about it. For years, that tree was used to climb in, to meet under, to rest by and to serve as a point of direction. But that tree was planted long ago for one great reason. That tree put Zaccheus in the position to see Jesus. He was able to climb above all his limitations (size) and distractions (crowd) and finally see Jesus.
I can’t help but read this story in a new light as I start off my week at OMP. The tree jumps out at me as a shining example of how we should deal with others. God is asking us to see the tree as an opportunity to positively affect others’ lives. We’re here to put others in the position to see Jesus. We are limited by our inability to live perfectly, yet we’re given the chance to see Christ by the way we live, by helping others when they need us, and by showing that we care. The question is, are we using the tree to help ourselves and others see Jesus? How do we impact others’ lives for Jesus? When we are blocked in one area (crowds), we find another way (the tree). Climbing the tree is what OMP is all about…the opportunity for us to change and be changed from the inside out.
Open our eyes, God, to see the opportunity You have already provided!