Now that I’ve told my roommates, I can openly talk about my leaving California. One of the hardest things to leave behind will be the people of the Salvation Army Pomona Corps. It snuck up on me, really. One day I’m sitting at Panera, telling Sarah “yeah, I’d love to come help out with the music at the corps!” and the next I’m in Sunday School, wondering how in the world my Sundays will ever again feel complete without the Adult Sunday School class.
Today in Sunday School, we read the story of Zacchaeus. If you are unaware of his story, here is a quick little song for you to get the basic deets:
Here’s Zacchaeus, this hated tax-collector who wants to see Jesus. After realizing that nobody is gonna let him in the front to be close to Jesus, he quickly decides that he knows the route Jesus will take and runs ahead and.. climbs a tree. and he’s hanging out in this tree, peering down at Jesus, and Jesus stops and looks up and is like “Zacchaeus, come down. I’m going to stay at your house tonight.”
Jesus is staying with a CROOK, not a RELIGIOUS GUY.
C’mon, Jesus. Haven’t you heard that BAD COMPANY CORRUPTS GOOD CHARACTER?
…that is, unless the good character is Jesus Christ.
But here’s what I got out of it the most:
Zacchaeus, this guy of status and wealth and power, CLIMBS A TREE to see Jesus. The story is kind of familiar to those of us who have been around church our whole lives, but that is just insanity. It’s a grown man, a business man, hanging out in a tree just to get a GLIMPSE of the Lord Jesus. That is so foolish and ridiculous….
but he didn’t care. He wanted to see Jesus, and there was no way he was going to let anything – even himself – get in the way of seeing Christ.
Do I have that same kind of drive, that same passion for Jesus? Would – or do – I climb trees, impulsively overcome obstacles that keep me from seeing Christ? Or instead do I kind of sit around and think “oh, that’s weird.”
The answer is the latter, unfortunately. I shared in Sunday School that sometimes I can hear the Spirit telling me to do something – most commonly and quite often I feel the Spirit stir in me the urgency to get on my knees during prayer at church, to make a habit out of that anywhere I am – but I don’t because I don’t want to upset the people around me, or have people go “that is so weird” or have people think I’m putting on a show.
But Zacchaeus didn’t care. and look how Christ responded. He didn’t bother himself with the opinions of the majority: he didn’t try to please the crowd and not rock the boat. He made people confused by inviting himself to the home of this crook. The Sunday School material made the bad joke “Zacchaeus went out on a limb for Jesus.” But most importantly, Jesus responded by going out on a limb for Zacchaeus.
I must look inward: what is it about me that keeps me from seeing Jesus? What spiritual shortness do I have, and to what lengths will I go to climb my sycamore-fig tree?
I’ve already mentioned a big one: my hesitancy to listen to the Spirit, my desire to be “respectable.” Another one is my lack of self-discipline. Also my tendency to trivialize sin and not see it for the destruction it causes in my life.
But God has placed sycamore-fig trees along my path of life; a place where I can climb and rest and be compensated for my lack-thereof. A place where I can see Jesus coming towards me, and the place where Jesus will stop and look up and say “Stephanie, come down. I’m going to stay at your house today.” and that’s when the real work will begin.
So where are your spiritual shortnesses?
How willing are you to do crazy, illogical things to overcome them and see Christ?
….and what are we gonna do about it?