Taking a Risk
The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost. Zacchaeus is an interesting cat. I wonder what possessed a man with such stature to throw all pride aside and climb a tree to catch a glimpse of this prophet named Jesus. What was it that prompted him, compelled him to take such a risk – to make a spectacle of himself, to possibly invite disdain or judgement from the crowd. After all, he was in one of the most hated professions – a tax collector. Nobody liked those guys.
And he was wealthy! Some may say he had it all. Although he might not have been popular with the commoners, he was a leader in his profession and a man of means. Interestingly enough, it was his stature, for he was short in nature, that caused him to make such a bold move. He just HAD to see above the crowd – and climbing a tree was the only way to do it!
So he did – he took a risk. I imagine there had to be both an excitement and an awkwardness about his decision – but there he was – catching his glimpse, and something happened that was beyond his imagination! The Lord himself caught his eye – stopped and invited himself over for dinner! Why Zacchaeus? Why this guy?
Well, I think Jesus was most moved by people who were willing to cast off their fear and put aside their previous notions to seek the truth. Money cannot buy truth or happiness – and inside each one of us is sewn a deep desire for pure truth and meaning. The word was out that this Jesus was a man who knew The Truth, and it was more than Zacchaeus could handle to not try to connect with that in some way. We all deep down want a truth that is reliable and foundational and constant. That, I believe, is what drove Zacchaeus to the tree that day.
We all desire the comfortable life – and we work very hard to achieve it for ourselves and our families. The comfortable life feels good – at least temporarily. But in all of us is a stronger desire to live the meaningful life – and this meaningful life is not possible without a basis in truth. What we know, profess and live out as truth requires us to stay alert, keep humble, keep seeking more and never stop growing. It is that truth that truly sets us free. The very Word of God – breathed onto ancient pages for all the world to know. But we have to seek it first. That’s the key. Zacchaeus did seek, and he was richly rewarded.
I found it an interesting twist at the end, that this man, so taken with the powerful encounter with Jesus that he gave 1/2 of his possessions to the poor AND paid back 4 times anything if he cheated anybody. Although I consider myself to have a generous nature, I have a hard time imagining giving away half of my possessions. Truly this man realized the precious value of truth, and did not waste the opportunity to seek it out and seize it. Jesus waits for each of us to do the same….will we?