Have you ever been told that you are not enough?
Not big enough. Not old enough. Not young enough. Not pretty enough. Not smart enough. Not assertive enough. Not good enough. Not enough like “one of us…”
Daily reminded that there are certain “standards” that you fail to meet… for a seemingly infinite number of reasons.
Of all things, this is the one issue that most us face. We live in a world that only seems to recognize a “privileged” few who have all the “right stuff” or the “right” connections or the “right” status that permits them to be accepted. Significant. Heralded… Enough.
In the Bible, we can relate to a man named Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10).
There are two words used by Luke to describe Zacchaeus… “short” and “rich.” Most likely, he was always “short.” He only became rich because he “sold out” to the Roman invaders and oppressed his own people in collecting Roman taxes.
But do we ever think about WHY Zacchaeus chose to link himself to the Romans and oppress his own people? It likely stems from the fact that, all his life, he was told he just didn’t measure up… to be included in what all the others were doing. He was too small. Maybe too frail. Rejected. The brunt of jokes and ridicule (you know how kids can be!).
He grew up with a chip on his shoulder… with resentment and anger simmering beneath the surface – just waiting for an opportunity to “turn the tables” on his antagonizers. Then he sees his opportunity – by becoming a Roman tax-collector…
Now he can (legally!) dole out misery to all those who had belittled him because of… his littleness. But revenge is bittersweet. In making his tormentors pay for their ill-treatment – he is further rejected by his own people. He is always torn…
But then, one day, Jesus shows up.
Zacchaeus has heard about him. Jesus does miracles. He makes dead people live. Zacchaeus just wants to get a glimpse of Him.
But he is so short. And no one in the crowd even wants to let him through. So he does the only thing he can think to do. He runs ahead, climbs a tree, and waits…
There’s Jesus! He’s coming your way. He’s right under your tree.
Now, he’s looking up at you – talking TO you! He knows your name. He wants to stay at your house today. You are filled with overwhelming joy! The Person Who is the talk of the world wants to spend time in your world… to share a meal at your table.
Imagine the feelings. In one fateful moment, your rejection, your smallness of stature and status… no longer matter. You are openly accepted by the only Person Who really matters.
We don’t know of the conversation between Zacchaeus and Jesus that day… but we do know how Zacchaeus was affected… and changed. Just because He was accepted by Jesus – his whole attitude about life was changed. His thoughts of revenge and retribution were gone… replaced by thoughts of blessing others… and of making things right with people he had cheated through the years.
Jesus was pleased: “Salvation has come to this home today!” (Luke 19:9)
Zacchaeus reminds us that the only thing that takes away our hurt and our pain is an encounter with Jesus.
And Jesus reminds us of God’s Heart for all those who have been told that they don’t (or will never) measure up. He doesn’t come to “straighten out” the bent and twisted – He comes to accept them just as they are… and to commit His Own heart to theirs. He comes to OUR world… and allows His loving Presence to do its life-changing work.
Like Zacchaeus, we find… that is all we ever needed.