August 25, 2014
READ: Luke 19:1-10
Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!” (v.8).
For the past 2 years I’ve served in a church in the urban heart of a large city. It’s a difficult ministrythat requires me to have deep compassion and an open heart for others—things that don’t come naturally to me. I often feel woefully unqualified and wonder how I can be the person of grace and compassion that I need to be.
It’s good to remember that there was someone even less qualified for ministry than I am: Zacchaeus. He was a man known for his greed, a tax collector who skimmed off his collections to become very wealthy (Luke 19:2). But by the time Jesus concluded His discussion with him, Zacchaeus had become a force for generosity and justice. He promised to give half of his possessions to the poor and vowed to pay back four times what he had wrongly taken from anyone (v.8). Not many of us can say we’re as generous as this reformed tax collector!
And how did Zacchaeus become a force for good? Through the simple grace and friendship of Christ. He was invited to know Jesus, to fellowship with Him (vv.5-6): “[Jesus] looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. ‘Zacchaeus!’ he said. ‘Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.’ “ Then Zacchaeus hopped down from his perch on a tree branch “and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.” And as he was blessed and befriended by Jesus, he found it easy and natural to bless others in return.
As a minister, it’s by being filled with Jesus’ grace and love that I’m truly able to do the ministry. The heart and source of ministry is that we can generously and compassionately love others because we have been so generously loved first! —Peter Chin
365-day plan› Matthew 20:1-19
Read 1 John 4:10 and John 13:34-35 to see how our compassion and generosity should flow from what God has done for us.
What does it mean for you to spend time with Jesus as Zacchaeus did? Remembering what God has given you, what is He calling you to share with others?