We probably all know the story of Zacchaeus, the wee little man. How he climbed a Sycamore tree. How Jesus came by and told him to come down. How they ate together and Zacchaeus got right with his fellow man, by restoring four fold that which he had stolen. *Yawn* I must have heard the story a hundred times.
But today as I read this story to my first grader for our Bible time, I was moved to tears. I believe it was the Holy Spirit using this story at this time to strengthen me.
You see, I’m little. Not in stature, perhaps, I’m about average in height. But I’m little in the eyes of humanity. In fact, I’m nothing! I’m a mere speck on this planet in which we live! Zacchaeus was an important man in his town, but when he thought about how he looked to God, he realized just how small he was! Isn’t that the truth? Bill Clinton and Bill Gates inspire admiration and praise on Earth, but God just yawns at them!
I don’t think Zacchaeus expected Jesus to notice him. Zacchaeus climbed a tree. He probably imagined that Jesus would walk past him below, blessing those who thronged Him, talking to those who were outgoing, smiling at the humorous and listening to the intelligent. He would watch Jesus, as He got farther and farther away until he vanished from sight. He would wonder, “Did I just lay my very eyes on the Son of God? Wow! That was the Son of GOD!” He would go home, feeling the same as when he first entered the crowded street. And that would be that.
But Zacchaeus didn’t know Jesus! Jesus already knew him! Jesus looked away from the bold, the humorous and the intelligent ones around him and saw the man, Zacchaeus, up in a tree! Perhaps the shock of being noticed in a tree caused Zacchaeus to blush or duck behind a branch, I don’t know. But Jesus noticed this man who was so desperate to just look at the Lord, that he climbed a tree to do so! He saw the man that didn’t have the stature, and perhaps the courage, to get close to Savior of the world. But Jesus saw Zacchaeus. Jesus knew what to say, even if Zacchaeus didn’t. Jesus wanted to meet Zacchaeus, and Jesus changed him forever.
How often do I have the same low expectations of my Lord? “God’s busy helping that pastor of the huge church right now, he can’t help me.” I think to myself. Or, the Lord is occupied blessing the people in the eastern part of the U.S. right now, He can’t be bothered with my problems in my area. And I expect nothing. I muddle through, reading God’s Word, but not claiming it, praying prayers, but not believing that anything will change.
It was as though the Lord said to me through this story, “I see you, Valerie. You think you’re a nothing, and to the world, you are nothing, but to me, you are something – you are my child!”
I come before His presence today so thankful. I’m thankful that He saw a little girl from Hot Springs, Arkansas, who talked too much, wiggled a lot, disobeyed often and sought attention; He saw all of that and still wanted me! He said, “You don’t have to be anything great to be worthy of my love.” And from the moment I trusted Christ, I have never been the same!
Just as Zacchaeus changed his behavior, so have I. I want to be careful with my words, I want watch my quick temper, I want to stay in the background, and most of all, I just want to obey. And when I fail (everyday), I go to Him, and He sees that I’m different, He helps me and He forgives me. He gives me the strength to get up and keep going.
Anyway, I just wanted to share my thoughts. I was excited to about this reminder of a little man and God’s great love! I already received encouragement this morning in my regular daily Bible reading, so this blessing truly exceeded my expectations! But then, that’s how the Lord works! He is able, and often does, exceeding abundantly more than we ask or think! (Eph. 4:20)
And I give Him all the glory!