I’m encouraged by the strength/faith Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10) showed to make such a major change in his way of life and give away so much for Jesus.
I know in my own walk with God I struggle to let go of certain parts of my life. If I do, it doesn’t take long before the old ways start to creep back in. At times it is a constant struggle. I wonder if it’s out of fear, pride or being unwilling to bear the cost.
In our heads we know that God’s way is better for us, it’s the only way, but it still remains a challenge to let God be God and fully submit our lives to Him. It would be easy to get discouraged without knowing who we have as our Heavenly Father and how much He loves us. It is such a blessing that our God patiently waits for us to allow him deeper into our lives. Jesus wanted to be a guest in Zacchaeus’ home, despite his sins or social standing. How amazing is it that He sees the heart of the man and actively pursues a relationship with him. How much encouragement can we take from that!
To read about Zacchaeus giving away so much of what he had valued and yet still being so joyful in doing it, is an example of how we need to take hold of Jesus and do it His way no matter what the cost. In reality, everything we do has a cost anyway. It cost Zacchaeus a lot to follow Jesus, just like it can cost us a lot too. We may need to realign our time priorities or choose to change our attitude to circumstances and swallow our pride in the process. Despite these costs, we can take heart from knowing that whatever the cost, Jesus is worth it. He will not forsake us, He will always pursue a deeper relationship with us.
I love the way Jesus looks past the external and into the heart of Zacchaeus. He doesn’t concern himself with what others think, Jesus responds to the heart of the man. A tough example for us to follow, especially if those around us are hostile or treating us unfairly. Looking past the outward behaviours and attitudes to see the heart inside, as difficult as it is sometimes, can change the way we see others and make it a little less difficult to treat them with the love we are called to do. Maybe part of our ‘cost’ is taking the ‘hits’ that others dish out, and looking past this to the heart that Jesus sees. I know this is challenging, but thankfully when we mess it up, God is gracious enough to keep giving us opportunities to practice.