When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.”
(Luke 19:5 NASB)
When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.”
(Luke 19:7 NASB)
“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
(Luke 19:10 NASB)


As I read this scripture today the simple song, "Zaccheus was a wee little man and a wee little man was he" has kept going through my mind. It's a simple story that many of us probably remember hearing numerous times in our childhood. Jesus comes into the town and a short man, unable to see over the crowd climbs up into a tree so that he can catch a glimpse of the man, Jesus, as he walks by. Instead of walking by, Jesus stops, looks up into the tree and calls the man by name. The man is shocked, because he's a tax collector! That was pretty much a dirty word -- for tax collectors were some of the biggest scoundrels of the day. You couldn't look up any tax rules of tax codes on the Internet back then, but rather, you had to pay what the tax man said. They were known for being greedy, for not only were they collecting for the ruler, but they got a cut for themselves. To make the ruler happy you had to collect a lot of money, and to take care of yourself, you had to collect even more! These people knew how to make everyone else miserable and men like Zaccheus were despised by their community (except of course, his friends with whom he shared some of his loot and probably gave them discounted taxes).

And then the King of Kings says he's going to stay at this man's house. I can imagine the silence and the dumbfounded looks on the faces of those in the crowd. How could this man, Jesus, go to Zaccheus' home? They all felt like he had turned his back on them. But he hadn't, he had simply continued to reach out, and using this as a teachable moment, reminded them that his purpose was to seek out those who were lost.


This must become a teachable moment for us as well. Let's stop right there and ask ourselves how often do we go out and seek those who are lost? When do we go to the home of someone that our entire community might despise and simply hang out with them in a desire to bring them to Christ? And if we go, what will our "friends" do? Will they stare at us in silence and wonder what it is that we have done, where have we gone?

I'm rather new in our latest position but we seem to spend a lot of time with the "church" folks who have a lot of concerns about "their" church. Don't get me wrong, I love these people and they have been good and faithful people through the years. But there is a sense in which we all have been doing church for so long that our focus becomes inward. We are so concerned about our own survival that we forget to seek! The Pharisees of Jesus' day were this way. They had been persecuted, exiled, and treated poorly through the centuries and they were looking for their own survival. Surely Jesus was concerned about their survival as well? But instead, Jesus seemed to go out and hang out with bad guys. What the Pharisees didn't see was that their very survival hinged on the fact that Jesus would seek the lost. The same is true today. The survival of the church hinges, not on protecting ourselves and what we have, but on going out and seeking the lost. We must be willing to leave the confines of our church buildings and be armies of saints which are combing this earth and seeking for those who need to know Jesus Christ.


Lord, may I be a member in your army that is seeking out those who need to know you this day! May there be divine appointments along the way with those like Zaccheus, and may I be willing to and visit with them in their "home." Help us to take the church to them. Amen.


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