Yesterday in Sunday School, I had the task of teaching a group of 4th and 5th grade boys the story of Zacchaeus the tax collector and his interactions with Jesus from Luke 19. For those of you not familiar with the story, here is a brief rundown:
- There was a man named Zacchaeus, who was a rich tax collector. Tax collectors = despised amongst Jews; Viewed as dishonest and greedy; “sinners.”
- Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus, but he was really short, and there was a crowd. (I feel your pain Zach) So…
- He climbs up into a sycamore-fig tree. In case you don’t know what in the world that is:
- Jesus looks at him and says, “Get down, I’m coming to your house.” (paraphrase)
- Zacchaeus obliges.
- People talk bad about Jesus because He was hanging out with a “sinner.”
- Zacchaeus comes around, claims that he will give away half of his stuff, and pay back anyone he has cheated financially 10x more that he cheated them out of.
- Jesus says that “salvation” has come to the house, and that He has come “to seek and save the lost.”
After finishing the story, in one of my most fantastic teacher moments, I followed the lesson plans given to me by our children’s minister.
I asked the question, “Have you ever been lost? How did it make you feel?”
The responses were actually really good. I got the typical responses. i.e. “I got lost, and I was scared.” That was good. That was what I expected, but then a couple of answers caught me off guard, and I am so glad they did.
One of the guys told the story of how he was lost one time. He said it was fun at first, until he realized he was in trouble. What he said rang ever true in my ears. Isn’t that what I experience so often? Something seems like such a good idea. Something harmless. Something fun. Something that surely won’t get me into any trouble or a predicament. There are so many lies that Satan is constantly whispering in my ear. These lies show their true colors down the road, even if at first it seems like fun, or it seems like it won’t come back to bite you.
Another one of the guys told the story of getting lost in the library. He and his sister had walked a little ways from their mom and sat down on a couch in one of the reading areas. He said that he and his sister didn’t even know they were lost until their mom, who had been frantically searching for them, found them. This was also deeply stirring for me to hear when thinking metaphorically. It made me wonder about a lot of things.
- How many people walk through life thinking that they are doing great when, in reality, they are so far off from where they need to be?
- Am I walking through life unaware of how lost I actually am?
- How do we avoid becoming numb to God’s calling in our lives?
I think that this tends to be incredibly common in our churches. Here in the “Bible Belt” of the U.S. it is really easy to get comfortable in our faith. I see so much comfort that sometimes the church looks a lot more like an inexpensive country club than the living breathing bride of Christ. I think contentedness can be a huge enemy of the mission of the Kingdom. When we become ok with the things of this world, and content with how far we have come, we become lost. God is calling us to be people who have a mission and a direction here on earth, but when we become lost in this world, we are not living to the calling that God has for us in our lives.
lost: adj. Unaware of one’s whereabouts.
I pray that we will be constantly aware of the situations that we find ourselves in. I pray that when we find ourselves to be lost, that we will be found. I pray that we realize we are lost, and that we need to be found. Jesus came to seek and save us from the things of this world. Let us not go on being unaware of our state, but let us be found in the great salvation afforded us through Christ.
“Today, salvation has come to this house.”