FAITH AT WORK

Rules For Living
July 14, 2021
RESPONSES TO THE GOSPEL
August 26, 2021

SCRIPTURE: Luke 19:1-9
At the opening of our story, Zacchaeus was a rich but lonely person. He was filled with anxiety and guilt. He had experiences with others that had not made his life full. Without Jesus, he found life to be unhappy and unfulfilled.

Let’s do some self reflection. How often do we feel like we have attained just what we want but still feel unfulfilled? All along Zacchaeus believed that money could purchase peace, contentment, and satisfaction. He had heard about Jesus and now he sought him out for himself. He realized that he needed more in his life than his money could buy him. We also need to look beyond material things to make our lives more fulfilling.

What is the meaning of enriching our faith? Every time we come to church, we should come expectantly looking for spiritual nourishment. There were two preachers in London. When people came away from hearing one, they said “what a wonderful preacher!”. When they came away from hearing the other preacher, they said “what a wonderful Lord!” We should be seeking a better relationship with the Lord. At first, it seems that Zacchaeus is the seeker but then, in verse 5, we realize that Jesus is the real seeker! He went to Jericho seeking Zacchaeus. He seeks out those whom he can save. Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Zacchaeus came down from the tree and received Jesus joyously! He opened the door to his home. In essence, he came out of hiding, dropped his mask, and entered into an open relationship with Jesus. He sets the example for us! We need to strengthen our relationship with our Lord!

Often in the Bible, we learn that changed behavior comes from a change of heart.” I am tired of waiting for him to change,” a woman said to me recently. “I am tired of hearing apologies. My husband apologizes and repeatedly does the same thing again!” The question is has there been a change of heart that will lead to a true behavior change. Consider that a heart changed by God will exhibit the following traits as explained by the Apostle Paul. “but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23. If a person’s character does not show these traits, then one must question if a person’s heart has truly changed. Contrast these qualities with what is said about a heart of stone. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26.

Luke 19:8 “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 ties the amount!” Zacchaeus had a change of heart! In our Gospel reading today, Zacchaeus had made it his goal to catch a glimpse of Jesus but he was too small to look above the crowd. He could have given up but he didn’t. Nothing could deflect him from his goal of seeing Jesus. He put his heart and soul into it even going as far as climbing a tree! There was a reason why he was short in stature. It teaches us that even if we are insignificant in other’s or even our own eyes, we are not insignificant to God. God is ready to help us have a richer, more fulfilling life.

I am reminded of the words of Jesus in Revelation 3:20 where he says to people who are looking for Him “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Let’s all open that door!