At Jericho there was a man named Zacchaeus.
He was the chief tax collector and was wealthy.
He wanted to see who Jesus was,
but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd.
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him
We are in the third week of our current series all about priorities. And we’re looking at an interesting figure we briefly meet towards the end of Luke’s gospel named Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus is “lost” when it comes to his priorities. His priority was money. As the chief tax collector for the Romans, he made lots of money but everybody hated him for it, he was shunned from society and forbidden to join the worship of the community.
Luke then describes how this situation is completely changed. Zacchaeus wanted to see who Jesus was and the guy went out of his way to position himself to see. That begins the process.
Getting our priorities in order involves putting God number one and ordering everything else after him. But this won’t happen until we change our thinking and think like Zacchaeus, we have to want to see him. Jericho was a big city, and there were probably a lot of people that day who did not see Jesus. He was there, they just missed him, because they didn’t want to see him, or they didn’t want to see him enough to go out of their way to see.
We have to want to see who Jesus is, specifically in our own life, in the context of the challenges and opportunities and all the other specifics and incidentals of our life. And until we make that transition, that change in thinking, we are always going to find prayer a labor intensive, low yield exercise.
Wanting to see who Jesus is, is like setting out on a journey, and it can be fun. Zacchaeus had no idea where it would lead him, though very quickly it becomes clear it would be a great big adventure. We don’t know anything else from Scripture, but according to the early authority of Clement of Alexandria, Jesus changed Zacchaeus’ name to Matthias and he was later elected by the apostles to fill Judas’ place and become one of the twelve.
For me, some days when I don’t pray, or don’t pray as I should, I can let my focus wander from God and that always leads to worry and doubt. Doubt about what I’m doing, or where we are going as a parish community, worry about what is up ahead. When I pray as I should I grow in excitement for all God is doing and where he’s going to take us next. I can’t wait to see what’s up ahead. That’s the way I feel about Nativity, God is taking us on a great adventure, and I just can’t wait to see what he does next.
But you can live your life that way too, every day can be part of the unfolding adventure of what God is going to do next, an unfolding story of how God is God in your life. Don’t you want to see that?