Tuesday, July 29, 2014


He was ostracized from his hometown.  Although everyone knew him, no one wanted to speak to him or have any business dealings with him.  He was shunned for collecting taxes from his own, the Jewish people.  And to make matters worse, he did it for the Romans, who turned right around and oppressed the Jews.  He enriched himself, by charging the general public a collection fee in addition to their tax bill.  Things were ‘going good’ for Zacchaeus… but, to tell the truth, they got even better.
One day Jesus passed through Jericho.  His reputation had preceded him.  People were waiting by the roadside.  Zacchaeus was among them, sitting up in a tree near the road rather than try to excuse himself to the front of the crowd.  What a shock when Jesus said, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately.  I must stay at your house today.”  He slid down the trunk and welcomed Jesus gladly.  And before Jesus left, Zacchaeus stood up and said, “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, “Today salvation has come to this house…”
This tax collector became a disciple of Jesus and the evidence is in how his priorities were realigned… almost instantly!  In one day, Zacchaeus’ love and devotion to Jesus restructured his values.  He committed to give away half of his accumulated wealth plus pay restitution to all those whom he had cheated.  In only one day he got it… that when you are devoted to Jesus, you lose your attraction to money and you demonstrate compassion for others.  You begin to release your hold on money and you tighten your grip on Jesus.  This was the first commitment that Zacchaeus made. 
What is puzzling to me is that for so many disciples in our generation, the stewardship piece, the giving piece, is the final one, instead of the first, to be put into place to complete the picture of a mature disciple of Jesus.  Non-believers give little or nothing… and without a conscience about it.  But new disciples know that the location of the heart is tied to the location of their treasure. So, they immediately want to relocate their ‘coined life.’
Pray with me… Father, give us the values of Zacchaeus.  Help us to make reckless decisions about our life priorities and assets once we have made Jesus Lord of our lives.  In His name, amen. 

Pastor Ken

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