“And Zacchaeus stood and said unto the Lord, ‘Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor—and, if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.’ And Jesus said unto him, ‘This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham—for the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost’.”
We should never forget when the Lord gets the heart, He also gets the pocketbook as well.
The Apostle Paul wrote “the love of money is the root (of all kinds) of all evil” (I Tim. 6:10). And, even if we didn’t know the Lord Jesus as Savior and Lord or have any working knowledge of the Bible, we would know this is true.
Greed. Avarice. Covetousness. Materialism.
There are a lot of ways to describe it, but this “love of money” is really sinful “lust of money,” which is rooted in the Three Achilles’ Tendons: “The lust of the flesh, eyes and pride of life” (I Jn. 2:16). And, the one who’s infected by it can never get enough of it (money)—always seeking to get more and more and more.
Such was certainly the case with Zacchaeus.
He was a “son of Abraham” by birth, for he had Father’s Abraham’s blood surging through his veins. But, he reached a point where the world’s gold was more important to him than God’s Glory (like Judas). And, soon he’d hired himself out to the enemy (the Romans) and was raking in the dough at his fellow countrymen’s expense.
A Roman tax collector was viewed as a traitor by his fellow citizens. And, he certainly was known to be a thief—for they could charge any amount over-and-above Caesar’s tribute-tax that they wanted. And, no one could do anything about it.
That’s partly why Zacchaeus climbed up in the sycamore tree that day (vv.3-4).
Assuredly, he was “short of stature and wouldn’t have been able to see Jesus passing by because of the large crowd.” But, we must also believe part of his motivation was fear of being stabbed by an angry citizen in the throng without anyone seeing it.
But, he hadn’t bargained on Jesus stopping under the tree, looking up and saying “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down—for today I must abide (want to have lunch) at your house” (v.5). No doubt this unnerved the finely-dressed tax collector with the neatly-trimmed beard.
“How did he know I was up here? And, how did he know my name?” Zacchaeus wondered.
But, it didn’t matter. Jesus was coming to HIS house and he was going to lay out a spread for him. Yet, Jesus didn’t go there for hospitality; He went there to do heart surgery. And, the proof of that transaction-transformation is evident in today’s Manna. When Christ’s Love changes our heart, liberality in giving becomes standard practice (II Cor. 8:1-9:15)—which moves us from “How much do I HAVE to give?” to “How much do I GET to give?” Hallelujah!!
August 21, 2011