Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Sunday night we graduated 39 students from the Austin School of Supernatural Ministry. What a year of discovery, growth and adventure we have had together!
In thinking of some final words to share with the students, the Lord led me to the story of Zacchaeus, the "wee little man" found in the 19th chapter of Luke. Zacchaeus is familiar to us because of the nursery school song that made him famous, but there is more that we can learn from Zacchaeus if we take a closer look.
Zacchaeus had undoubtedly heard of Jesus, but had not personally seen or encountered Him. When he heard that Jesus was passing through Jericho he made an important decision. He let his hunger take him where he needed to go.
Luke tells us that Zacchaeus was a short man and because of the crowd, he could not see. Not to be outdone and in a burst of ingenuity, Zacchaeus climbed a sycamore tree....for the Lord he wanted to see. We often pass over this part of the story quickly, but it is really pretty amazing that an affluent man, the Chief Tax Collector, would humble himself to climb a tree just to get a view of Jesus.
Tree climbing is for children, or the foolish it would seem, but this did not deter him. To his credit, Zacchaeus' hunger led him into a life-changing encounter with this man called Jesus. We probably won't be given the same opportunity as Zacchaeus, but in each of our lives we are given opportunities, or 'Divine setups' where we might encounter Him in surprising ways. The choice is ours as to how we will respond to His invitations. I want to be like Zacchaeus, and let my hunger take me where I need to go to encounter Him.
When Jesus reached the spot where Zacchaeus was perched in his tree, He called out to him to come down immediately. Jesus threw out an invitation that required obedience. Had Zacchaeus chosen to remain safely hidden in the branches of the tree, he would have never stepped into this relationship that would change the very course of his life. Obedience always leads us into greater intimacy. Zacchaeus' choice to come down from his tree preceded Jesus coming into his house.
When Jesus comes into the house, everything changes! You know something dramatic has taken place when a tax collector decides to give half of his possessions to the poor. Deliverance came to the house of Zacchaeus because he chose to lay aside his prominence and position and humbly follow his hunger into undignified places.
I pray that we would remember that we don't usually get to choose our place of encounter, but we can choose the heart position that will cause us to stand out as an easy target like the wee little man in the sycamore tree.
I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matt. 18:3-4