2 Samuel 23-24 Luke 19:1-27
“But Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, ‘I will give half of my possessions to the poor. And if I have cheated anyone, I will pay back four times more.’” (Luke 19:8 NCV)
There are some people who take the air out of the room just by showing up. People stop talking, lest they offend that person. E.F. Hutton starts listening. Zacchaeus was like that among tax collectors. Then one day the little big shot heard that Jesus was coming, and he climbed a tree to be able to see Jesus. Jesus invited Himself to lunch at Zacchaeus’s place. When lunch ended, Zach had an amazing change of heart, as noted in the verse I quoted. Here’s the interesting thing: Jesus didn’t tell him he had to give it all away like He told the rich young ruler. He was satisfied with this concession from Zacchaeus.
You really gotta have (a changed) heart. We see two stories in Luke about wealthy folks and their money. In the first case, a pretty good guy, a leader of his people, didn’t want to give it all away when Jesus told him that was the way of eternal life. In this story, Jesus greeted Zacchaeus’s announcement of giving part of his wealth away by noting that salvation had come to his house. I wonder if the parable Jesus told about the Tax Collector and the Pharisee just before the rich young ruler and Zacchaeus encountered Jesus was prophetic. The ruler came so that Jesus could validate him and his works. Jesus let him know what he was missing. Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus. He knew he didn’t deserve anything from God. I’d love to know what kind of mealtime conversation Jesus had with Zach. Whatever the conversation was, Zacchaeus came out a changed man. His relationship with God became more important than his wealth. The rich young ruler walked away from Jesus while Zacchaeus embraced Him because of his change of heart. And so, with us. Have you ever thought to yourself that God had to bless you because of how good you’ve been? I have. The prayer went something like, “God, I gave up studying for my test to minister to a friend in need. Please get me a good grade on the test.” I failed it. Miserably. My boastful attitude not only didn’t help my grade, it hurt my relationship with God. We don’t impress God when we give money away, we don’t impress Him when we do great works. What God looks for is a heart changed by His grace. Let Him take control of your life and you’ll experience His grace in all you do.
Lord how often do I do good things so that You’ll look at me and be impressed. Keep me from making a fool of myself that way. Help me come to You with a changed heart. Teach me to depend on Your grace.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.