There’s one story in the Bible that catches my attention whenever I read it. It’s found In Luke 19 and says: As Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through, a man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house…”
Zacchaeus was a disliked man because he was a high-ranking tax collector. These people were known for their shrewd ways and hated for their dishonest gain. This man, however, was a go-getter. He wanted something and therefore made every effort to obtain it. Maybe that’s why he was wealthy. He was a problem solver and wouldn’t succumb to a challenge. Yes he was short but where there is a will there is a way. He found a tree and climbed it – Problem solved! We need more people like Zacchaeus.
Two things happened in this man that happens to all those who are truly seeking to see Jesus.
When he saw Jesus, he began to view life differently. Some people don’t see Jesus at all due to various distractions or the cares of life keep them busy and unfocused. Others do see Jesus but only as a historical teacher – a symbol of good or a person worthy of study like Mother Theresa. When, however, you see the real Jesus, you start viewing life differently. Zacchaeus gleaned a new perspective because he was willing to change his position. Perspective is important because it not only determines what you see but in turn determines the lifestyle you choose.
The second thing that transpired is seen in his decision. He chose a new lifestyle.
When he saw Jesus and discovered he didn’t hate Him like so many others did – his motivation to change catapulted him into a new way of living. A lifestyle based on selflessness rather than selfishness, a lifestyle of fairness rather than favoritism and a lifestyle of giving rather than taking. Jesus caused change!
Has your perspective on life become narrow-minded? Are you more and more set in your ways, resistant to see things from a broader perspective? Does your lifestyle focus more on you and yours rather than others? Is it more about getting for you than it is about giving?
If so, I would suggest a change in your position because you won’t get a new perspective sitting in the same place, doing the same things and thinking the same thoughts. Talk to someone who has had a real encounter with Jesus or gather with one of the many church families in Kings County this weekend for a better glimpse of Jesus.
If that doesn’t work out, you might consider climbing a tree. Jesus will pass your way if you’re really seeking to see Him.