He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And 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 and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:1-10
We have a Sycamore tree in my mother's yard. These days, it is a mere shadow of itself, having been cut back after storm damage. I remember when it was mammoth, with its multicolored shedding bark and its huge leaves. Its branches stretched out wherever it pleased and was wonderful at providing shade and cool in the heat of the summer. It was too big for me to climb but I was taken by it and still am, as it stands majestic and silent, an observer of all the generations who have passed by.
Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus but he was too small. He was a man of great wealth and importance and had great power and control in the community. This was a man of public stature and who commanded authority, unable to glimpse Jesus because he was too short in the pressing crowd. So, instead of giving up or giving orders, he did something uncharacteristic and challenging. He ran ahead and climbed a huge sycamore tree. Jesus saw him and pointed him out. Again, Zacchaeus did something completely out of character -he took Jesus home with him joyfully. He set aside his pride and opened his heart to God. And God's son came and made himself at home. We are invited to act more like Zacchaues, to put aside pride and place, and to humbly seek out God. And God will find us and come be at home with us.
Today, I ask God to help me be like Zacchaeus. May we run ahead and climb trees in order to meet Jesus. May we never bank on our position or stature, but instead run with joy to meet God. May we be humble and patient today, not focusing on our limitations but creating new ways of seeing God on our walk. And may we rejoice in knowing that God is coming to stay, to make a home with us and live forever with those who are willing to risk pride for God's living presence.