November 9, 2017
READ: Luke 19:1-10, 29-41
When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today” (v.5).
Focused, she bustled past me in the canned goods aisle. Her Bluetooth device behind her ear, she filled her shopping trolley while carrying on a phone conversation. I saw her again while I was in the self-checkout lane. Cool and collected, her ability to multitask seemed admirable on the surface. However, her curt tone towards a cashier revealed that the woman’s need to be on task had left her unable to care about others.
Regardless of where we live, or what space in history we occupy, we can view life through our own obligations and desires and miss the people around us. And if we were to strip away the latest wireless technology, the convenient self-checkout and the myriad options in a modern-day supermarket, the people walking the streets of a dusty road in Jericho could have been much the same.
As he describes Jesus’ encounter with Zacchaeus, Luke highlights this truth: the kingdom of God flourishes when individual hearts are restored (19:6). The people had strong opinions about Zacchaeus. He was a cheat, a nuisance and an outright sinner who didn’t deserve their time, much less Jesus’ attention (v.7). Focused on their own needs, they couldn’t understand why Jesus would choose to invest in someone who seemingly had so little to offer.
But in that moment, despite the people around Him, Christ’s agenda became all about one person (vv.4-5). It was this same care for individuals that would lead Him to begin a journey towards the cross and cause Him to weep over a city of lost souls (vv.30-35,41).
Life will always be busy, but if, by His power, we follow Jesus’ example, we’ll understand that we best display God’s kingdom when we also display Jesus’ care for each person we meet.
365-day-plan: Acts 21:1-17
Read Philippians 2:4 and think about how you can “take an interest in others” as you go about your day.
Think of a time when someone valued you simply as an individual. In what ways did this person’s investment reflect the heart of God? What is your greatest challenge in focusing on the individual people you encounter?