Jesus and Zacchaeus - Luke 19:1-10
He entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, 'Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.' So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, 'He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.' Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, 'Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.' Then Jesus said to him, 'Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.'
One thing I like about Zacchaeus is that he climbs trees. I did that as a boy. As I grew up, however, my center of gravity rose higher and higher off the ground and I began to rather like having my feet planted on solid earth. Now I enjoy trees from the ground only. But not Zacchaeus. He defies gravity.
That brings me to the second thing I like about Zacchaeus. He is a seeker. Not only that, there's a certain urgency about his seeking. He hears Jesus is coming by, so he rushes down to the road to see him. No thought about getting the servants to boost him so he can see. That might mean missing his chance to see Jesus. He gets down to the road and sees the crowd will block his view. So he's up the tree in a flash.
So why the urgency? He's obviously heard about Jesus, but I think he must have listened with some spiritual sense that told him this particular meeting would be a moment pregnant with possibilities, a promise of gifts undreamt. And that's the third thing I like about Zacchaeus. He listens for hints of the divine.
I also like Zacchaeus's attitude. It's "yes" from the get-go. No need to evaluate, no planning involved. Something about this opportunity is so attractive that he's all "yes". Joseph Boyle, Trappist abbot, of Snowmass, Colorad, said it like this (I'm paraphrasing. It's best to start out with a "yes". That way, when the going gets tough, "yes" comes easier. You're already in the habit.
The Zacchaeus narrative also reminds me of what I probably like best about God. If you open your heart to God the best you can, God comes and stays with you.In your life, what is the connection between receiving the gifts of Christ and returning these gifts in service to him?