Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. 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 down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, "He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner." Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, "Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much." Then Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost." Luke 19:1-10
I remember what it was like when I was very small to try to look ahead through a forest of adult legs. I also remember how glorious it was to climb trees and have my whole perspective change. It was cooler in the green sprawling branches and I could spy on people without them seeing me for very few people ever look up. Getting closer to God has often come when I work to get a new perspective, when I struggle to new heights and new challenging places, where I find God drawing close.
We learned in Sunday School that Zacchaeus was small in stature. But that has never been the focus of the encounter with Jesus. Jesus looked up and sought Zacchaeus out, calling him down from his vantage point to a closer encounter with the living God. And this encounter changed the tax collector forever, and everyone around him too. Jesus didn't shame the man, he loved him, and that love brought not only a chance of view but a change of heart. God's love invites us to draw close and to be transformed by love.
Today I ask God to help me draw ever closer. May we be willing to move to challenging places in order to experience God's love and transformation today.