Bible Reading: Luke 19:1-28
Life can really be tough. And then, add on how cruel people can be to each other…and it gets even tougher. However, the key is not how we see ourself, our how others see us…but, how Jesus sees us. When we begin to see ourself as Jesus does…everything changes.
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
The other day I was talking with a guy who said that no one likes him. I told him that he was probably over exaggerating things a little bit and that surely there were some people who valued his friendship. But he insisted that while there were a few people that he occasionally hung out with…he didn’t know a single person that he would call a real friend. I said, “Well, give me a couple of examples of why you think that people don’t like you.” He gave me 11. Oh, boy, didn’t see that coming. Here they are…
- My friends always forget to invite me to do things with them.
- Whenever I want to hang out with my friends, they tell me how busy they are. But they have time to hang out with each other.
- People will be laughing…but when I walk up…they stop talking.
- I’m the one they always ask to take the group picture. So, I’m never in it.
- The people I am around always tell jokes that are about me. Then they say, “Lighten up. I didn’t mean it. I was just kidding.” But I’m not so sure.
- When I ask someone if they want to do something together they say, “I can’t right now, but we’ll have to do that sometime in the future.” But they never get around to it.
- I worry that if I invited some friends over to the house that they would not come.
- People laugh at everyone else’s jokes…but not mine.
- When I am talking with someone I feel like they aren’t really listening…they’re just waiting on someone else to show up.
- People never give me a birthday or Christmas present. It isn’t that they forget. They just never intended to.
- No one answers my texts.
It’s no fun being the one who is left out…or, the one who feels like they don’t fit in…or, the one who is made fun of. People can be so cruel. They will make fun of your age, your size, your skin color, your hair, the way you talk, the funny things that you do, the shape of your body, the fact that you’re not athletic, the clothes you wear, your family, where you come from, that you don’t have much money…the list is endless. Why do people make fun of other people? Why do they ridicule other people? There are a lot of reasons…but one of the most common reasons is that they are very insecure about themself…that means that they don’t like what they see, when they look at themself. Maybe they don’t like their age, their size, their skin color, their hair…do see a pattern? This is the same list that I just gave. So, in order to make themself feel better, or look better…they try to make other people feel worse, or look worse. Don’t ask me how that works…because it doesn’t…not really. When someone ridicules someone else in order to make them feel better about themself…nothing has actually changed. Well, actually one thing has changed. Our understanding of the first person has changed since we now realize that he (or she) is very insecure and immature.
There is a guy in the Bible who was probably a lot like the guy that I was just talking with. His name was Zaccheus. The Bible says that he was “small in stature”. That means that he was short. How short? Very short. The New Testament was written in the Greek language and the word that is translated into English as “small” is the Greek word, “micro”. Now that’s short. Zaccheus was “micro” short. Do you think that people made fun of him because he was sooooo short? Yeah, probably.
Zaccheus lived in a town named Jericho. One day, word got around that Jesus was coming there. Now, Zaccheus really wanted to see Jesus…but he knew that there would be a crowd of people…and because he was sooooo short…he would never be able to see over the crowd. Then he came up with an ingenious idea…he would climb up into a sycamore tree. That way he would be above the crowd and would be able to see Jesus as He passed by.
He waited and waited. The crowd got bigger and bigger. Boy, he was glad that he was high up in that tree. Finally, Jesus walked right in front of him. Then, the most amazing thing happened. Jesus stopped, looked up into the tree right at Zaccheus and said, “Hey, Zach, come on down. I’d like to have lunch at your house today.” I’ll bet Zaccheus almost fell out of that tree! Anyway, he shimmied down the tree and landed right at the feet of Jesus. And off they went. Like they were the best friends in the world. I can almost see Zaccheus. As he and Jesus were walking along the road together he was probably casually waving at people…then, he would point at Jesus, and then at himself, and mouth the words, “We’re having lunch together at my house.” Then, he probably did a little fist pump on his chest, crossed his fingers together and said, “Me and Jesus…we’re tight.” He was so excited. Actually, I think that’s probably the way I would be. “Me and Jesus…we’re tight.”
Now, this really upset some of the other people that were there. They didn’t like Zaccheus, very much. Not only was he sooooo short. But, he was also sooooo rich. He was a tax collector. That meant that he worked for the Roman government by collecting taxes from the Jews, the people that were in the crowd that day. And, he got to keep part of all the money that he collected…their money that he collected. And he collected a lot of their money…and he kept a lot of their money…and they didn’t like him a lot. They called him a “sinner”. And guess what? They were right. He was a sinner. But then, what they forgot was that they were also sinners.
A funny thing happened that day. Zaccheus found someone who liked him…Jesus. Jesus liked Zaccheus because He was more interested in his future, than his past. He was more interested in what he could be…than what he was.
That day changed Zaccheus. It changed him…forever. He told Jesus that he was going to give half of all that he owned to the poor, and to those that he had swindled by taking their money, he would give them back four times as much as he had taken. Now, that’s a hard thing for a tax collector to do…because he loved his money. Only God can change a man like that. I think that Jesus smiled when He heard Zaccheus. Then He said, “Today, you’ve seen a miracle happen because this man has certainly been saved!” Did you see what happened? Even though Zaccheus was the richest man in town…when he saw himself through the cruel, harsh eyes of other people, he was poor. But when he saw himself through the eyes of Jesus…he became rich.
Whose eyes do you see yourself through? You’ve got a friend in Jesus. And He’s the best friend that you will ever have. Listen to Him. Listen to what He has to say about you. There’s a good chance that He would like to spend some time with you, today. It could change your life…forever.
Love you more than bunches and bunches,