The story of Zacchaeus is one we’ve grown up with and heard a hundred times—it even has its own catchy song. But as I was revisiting this story one day, I saw something in it that I hadn’t seen before. (Don’t you just love it when the Spirit steps in and shows you something new?)
In case you haven’t met Zacchaeus, he was a wealthy tax collector. And he wasn’t just any tax collector, but a chief tax collector, which made him doubly despised. Zacchaeus was also a “wee little man”—according to Scripture and the children’s song—but he wanted to see Jesus as He passed through town. Being vertically challenged (and despised and relegated to the rear as a tax collector), Zacchaeus was not going to be able to see anything from where he was. So . . .
[Zacchaeus] ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree
to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. (Luke 19:4 NIV)
And there it is.
The new thing.
Do you see it?
Zacchaeus moved to where he could see Jesus. Because if he truly wanted to see the Lord that day, staying where he was just wasn’t an option. So Zacchaeus moved.
I don’t about you, but there are times when I need to do the same thing. Not necessarily climb a tree, although that definitely has its merits. Rather, like Zacchaeus, I can sometimes find myself in a place where I can’t see Jesus, and I need to move.
Some days that simply means getting away from the clutter and clamor of everyday distractions in order to hear His still, small voice. Other days, though, it means something deeper. I need to move to my heart and my mind to a place of actively seeking and searching for Jesus—instead of simply shuffling through my prayers and my readings.
Psalm 46:10 tells us to “be still and know” that God is God (niv). But I love the way the New American Standard Bible translates this verse: “Stop striving and know” that God is God (emphasis mine).
When I want to see Jesus, that’s exactly what I must do: stop my own strivings and plans—and surrender to His. Do you ever find yourself needing to do the same?
Now, here’s the thing that never ceases to amaze me: When we recognize that need, when we stop our striving, and we move to meet Jesus, Jesus moves to meet us.
You see, Jesus spotted Zacchaeus way up in that sycamore tree that day. He knew that wee little man was looking for Him. Jesus called out to him and gave him a new path for his life. And that’s just what He’ll do for us.
So if you ever find yourself missing a clear view of Jesus, move. Physically, or spiritually, or both. Whether it’s up a tree or in a quiet room, move into His presence in prayer and in His Word. Jesus will spot you, and He’ll guide you to the path He wants you to follow.
Come near to God and he will come near to you. —James 4:8 NIV