Do you have a physical characteristic you wish you could change? Probably. We all look at certain aspects of our physical self and probably think it could be something different and better. More hair, less weight, thicker beard, whatever. Zaccheus should be the person we think of when we focus on something about ourselves, something we really can not change. He was short. We probably all know someone who is short, or maybe we are short. While there are advantages (I have lost count of the number of lamps hanging over tables that I have banged my head on) usually people see being short as a disadvantage.
When we face a disadvantage we face a number of possible choices. We can pity ourselves for having been singled out for such a curse. We can try to pretend we are someone other than who we are. We can overcompensate for what we perceive as a short fall. Or, we can take the strategy employed by Zaccheus today. We can find a way to thrive with our perceived shortcoming. He climbed a tree so he could see Jesus. He was not going to let a few missing inches keep him from encountering Jesus.
The attitude of Zaccheus was that he would do whatever was needed to see Jesus. He was not going to miss the opportunity to respond to the call of God to become a disciple. And it was not just his height that was a potential issue for Zaccheus. He was ready to acknowledge his need for conversion and to do something about it. “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” He was not going to allow any excuses to get in the way of his following Jesus.
We cannot make excuses. We must imitate those people who thrive in spite of, and maybe even because of, those things that could be seen as something that could prevent them from being all they could be. God knows all about us, and he sees us, as Genesis reminds us, as very good. We do not need to think we cannot follow Jesus because we are not perfect. Of course we sin. We are not worthy. But if we are sincere in our desire to follow Jesus, there is mercy awaiting us for our sins, and there is grace to help us with conversion.
What keeps you from following the Lord? What prevents you from seeing Jesus? And what opportunity have you been given to get passed this aspect of your life. Is there a “tree” near you?