Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Seeking and Saving the Lost
"For the Son of Man came to seek and save what is lost." Luke 19:10
When I was in seminary, I got a gift from my Dad. It was very sweet and thoughtful of him. I had been talking with him earlier in the year about how busy things were for us and how something small could derail a whole day. I seemed to be losing my keys quite often and then would get very anxious as we scrambled to get out the door in the morning. He found a key chain that responded to my whistle - he was very proud of himself for helping to solve a problem and I was grateful. It was a good strong alarm sound and it was very sensitive even at long distances. It worked very, very well and for quite a while things were going smoothly. Then one day, as I was sitting in class, listening to my professor and the discussion around me, the alarm went off. I picked up my keys, hit the off button and put the keys away. I apologized to everyone and class continued. Not three minutes went by and it happened again. After four more rounds of this, I stripped my key chain of its batteries so we could finish class. I was so embarrassed as it dawned on me that it was being triggered by a single pitch in my professor's voice. Sometime not too long after that I lost that key chain - it had been rendered inoperable anyway since I had this man for several classes and he was my adviser. My home life was as chaotic as ever, and seeking the lost keys was to be my spiritual challenge the rest of my seminary career.
Zacchaeus couldn't see Jesus but that didn't stop him. He climbed a tree and Jesus came home with him. He could have stayed lost in the comfort his wealth and his position but instead, he climbed a tree and called out to the Son of God. He could have let his size be his excuse for not seeking God's healing in his life. A grown man climbs a tree in order to see and know the touch of the Savior? Zacchaeus, in his joy promises half of his wealth for the care of the poor and overwhelming restitution for those he has cheated. His heart was finally home and at peace in the presence of Jesus. Jesus had come for him, for people just like him. Jesus was seeking him out and all those who, despite all their work and wealth and power, have lost their way and want more than anything to be home. Home with God. Jesus still seeks the lost and saves them, bringing them home.
On this eve of Thanksgiving, I want to remember all the ways and times that God has sought me out and saved me. May I live today as Zacchaeus, willing to climb a tree and cry out, gladly welcoming again my Savior. And may I, like Zacchaeus, be grateful at being sought and being found. May we all rejoice this day in the God of love who desires all to be gathered in, all to be at home, all to be made whole.