Take 5 (April 27 – May 1, 2015)

Richard & Michelle Thompson • Children’s Ministry Pastor & Early Childhood Director

take5

Zacchaeus was a “Wee Little Man” for whom God had a Great Big Plan!

I am sure most of you could sing the children’s Sunday School song, “Zacchaeus was a wee little man…” but let’s take a few moments this week, as adults, to think about things we can learn from Zacchaeus’ story.

Monday: Zacchaeus had a Designer

Psalm 139:11-16; Ephesians 2:10

Zacchaeus had a Designer, and by that, I do not mean Georgio Armenian, his favorite robe and cloak maker! The God of all Creation designed him and crafted him on purpose, for a purpose – just as He has done with each of us. And, Zacchaeus was short. I am sure there were days (maybe years) that he hated that fact about himself; he probably was teased by other children as he was growing up. BUT, God knew that, later in life, Zacchaeus was going to need to be up in a certain tree for the events of his life to go as planned, and so He made him short. Is there something about yourself that you don’t like? Remember, you are not a mistake or an afterthought. God made you exactly as you are for a reason, and before you were born, He had things planned for you to do (Ephesians 2:10).

For Today: Is there something about yourself that you have never quite accepted? Have you thanked God for making you exactly the way He wanted you to be? Do so today.

Tuesday: Zacchaeus was a “Self-Made Man”, or So He Thought

Luke 19:1-4; Luke 18:10-12

We can figure out quite a bit about Zacchaeus by the little information we are given in scriptures. I think he eventually became calloused to what his countrymen thought about him, so he chose a profession which would gain him worldly wealth, but not favor among his people. He became a tax collector for Rome and, in time, became the chief tax collector. Now, tax collecting in his day was far more personal than it is now. After pay day, you had to report to the “withholding department”, i.e. Zacchaeus. He had a ledger with the amount you owed to Rome, but he could take as much from you as he wanted. I would guess that the boys in Temple Middle School gym class who teased him for being short were paying top dollar as adults! And Zacchaeus had money – lots of it. He probably thought he was set; what else did he need? But he needed Jesus, because he was trusting in something that could not save him.

For Today: Are you putting your trust in your ability to make money? Are you comfortable with your security in money, or have you placed your security in Christ alone?

Wednesday: Jesus is Coming!

Luke 19:1-6

I love to imagine what life was like during Christ’s time on earth. Everyone had heard about the great Teacher who taught of the prophets’ writings with incredible knowledge and authority and who healed people of diseases, paralysis, and blindness. In Luke 19, the people of Jericho have heard that this great Teacher was coming to their town. The excitement was electrifying! Everyone was out in the streets, waiting to catch a glimpse of Him as He walked and talked. Zacchaeus had also heard that Jesus was coming, so he closed the tax booth and headed to the street to get a glimpse. But, alas, being short was once again a problem. He couldn’t see a thing, and none of the townspeople were going to give up their front row position for the despised tax collector. So, he took things into his own hands and found a solution – the famous roadside Sycamore tree. And, up into the tree he went. Are you “Up a Tree” today? Do you have a problem that you can’t seem to solve? Jesus is the answer.

For Today: Have you “dropped everything” to get a glimpse of Jesus today? Have you told Him your problems and sought Him as the solution?

Thursday: The Miracle No One Talks About

Matthew 22:37-38; Colossians 3:14

The online dictionary of idioms defines “up a tree” as confused; without an answer to a problem; in a difficulty. I think Zacchaeus thought his only problem was that he was short and couldn’t see over the crowd, so he climbed that tree. But Jesus – the Eternal God – knew Zacchaeus had a much bigger problem. The problem we all have – sin. And Jesus came to earth to do something about that! Now, back to our story… Jesus is walking through Jericho, and Zacchaeus is looking out from the tree, and he sees Him coming! As Jesus draws closer, Zacchaeus begins to be able to hear His words. He is as amazing as the rumors! And then the unthinkable happens; as Jesus and the crowd pass under the tree, the great Teacher stops. He looks up and right into the soul of Zacchaeus. Jesus says, “Zacchaeus!” WHAT?!?! Time out! Jesus knew his name? And let me assure you, He knows your name. He knows all about you; right down to the number of hairs on your head (Matt. 10:30).

For Today: What do you think the good works are that God planned for you before you were even born (Ephesians 2:10)? Spend some time praying about it and then do them!

Friday: The Son of Man (Jesus) Came to Seek and to Save Those Who Are Lost

Luke 19:1-10; Romans 10:9-11

“Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” Zacchaeus couldn’t climb down out of that tree fast enough. Yes, Jesus, come! And the townspeople looked on in utter shock and disgust (v.7). Zacchaeus began his journey as a follower of Christ, and he was never the same. Meeting Jesus changes a man. He restored everything he had stolen from anyone by four times. And from the incredible wealth he had left, he gave half to the poor. You see, Jesus changes things! And, although the people of the town initially were not happy that Jesus had gone to the house of a notorious sinner, they couldn’t argue the change in Zacchaeus later!

For Today: Have you accepted Jesus as your own personal Savior? Have you allowed Him to make changes in you that the world can see?