Many times we find ourselves in uncomfortable situations. It’s almost like that feeling we get when there is a stirring in our spirit to long for more, to get more and to experience more. This feeling often leaves us with a drive that pushes us out of our comfort zone. It pushes us to a place where the voices of the naysayers don’t tie us down anymore. Another way to put it is that this feeling presses and keeps pushing us until we expand to the point where those chains restricting us falls off.
Someone in the bible who knows exactly what this pressure felt like is Zaccheaus. In Luke 19:1-10, the bible presents us with a story of this man who had situations that would have normally restricted him from experiencing his miracle. However the force pushing from within led to him being able to think outside the box.
Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.
When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”
Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.
Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”
Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” (Luke 19:1-10 NLT).
The above bible passage sheds light on the restricting factors that Zacchaeus had – physically and socially. Physically he was short. This restricted him from being able to see Jesus through the crowd. Have you ever being at a concert where there are loads of people and you find yourself being in a situation where you are only able to hear the sound but you can’t really see what is going on as a result of the height of those in front of you? If yes, i’m sure you know how Zacchaeus felt.
He was also a tax collector. The tax man doesn’t have many friends for obvious reasons haha! Socially Zacchaeus wasn’t the favourite person to hang out with.The later part of the above scripture further highlights this. He was a cheat. He made people pay high taxes than what they would have paid. I don’t know about you but there is no way, Zacchaeus would have been my friend. Nope!
You would think he should have given up at this point. Like some of us he could have said ‘well at least i tried’. ‘I tried to force my way through the crowd’. ‘God knows i tried’. ‘God understands’. He didn’t give up. He ran ahead to climb a sycamore tree. There is a saying that necessity is the mother of invention. The bible doesn’t tell us how far the distance was but i would like to think the process of running and climbing would have been a little bit uncomfortable. But he did anyway. His intention was just to see Jesus. He didn’t care what pain he had to go through to achieve this. He didn’t allow life struggles and limitations prevent him from experiencing this life changing event. Jesus was passing. He wasn’t there to stay. So he realised that the possibility of this happening again was very slim. He didn’t want this chance to pass him by. He was ready to do the extraordinary to get a view of Jesus. He was ready to bear the sweat from running and climbing just to see Jesus. He didn’t stay away lamenting in self pity and telling the world how his limitations have prevented him from experiencing his miracle. Rather he used his limitations as a springboard to shoot up. All of these he did just to see Jesus.
This is making me think. What are we ready to bear just to have that one experience with God that will change our lives forever? What sacrifice are we ready to make to break forth in our careers? What ego are we ready to drop and lay aside to see our marriages work again? To see our relationships coming together again? What uncomfortable steps are we ready to take to see our finance grow again? That child can come back home you know if you are willing to go out of your comfort zone.
I don’t think Zacchaeus expected the result from his decision. Well i’m sure he expected to see Jesus but he didn’t expect to host Jesus. Yes! That was exactly what happened. And when this extraordinary encounter took place, the ‘they’ appeared. ‘They’ grumbled. Where were ‘they’ when he was struggling to see Jesus from the crowd? Where were ‘they’ when he broke out of his comfort zone to run and climb?
You might be able to relate to Zacchaeus with this one. There are people who are always ok with you so long you remain the way you are. They are good so long you remain in their level. They are your friends so long you remain in the same crowd with them. But as soon as you stand out, the trouble begins. They begin to stereotype you. They become uncomfortable with your progress, family, promotion, marriage, relationship, success…. You are besties when you are both divorces but as soon as you decide to make your marriage work again and that decision becomes fruitful, you start getting ‘cold shoulders’ from them. What is tying you together with that group of friends? Are you friends because you all are in pain? Will your friendship continue if you experience a gain?
Zacchaeus decision not to kill that force that kept pushing him to want more led to his salvation.
Look on the inside of you. What are those limitations? Begin to view them differently. They could be a springboard for success if properly channeled.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:19)