There is a true story in the Bible in Luke, chapter 19 about a man who wanted to see Jesus. Because he was so “little of stature,” the Bible says that he “ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree” to see Jesus. He also had a greater view of everyone else (“the press”). He supposed that he would see Jesus better, but Jesus was there to see him. Would it have mattered to Jesus had Zacchaeus been in the tree or behind the press? Probably not. Jesus was going to Zacchaeus’ house anyway. So, why did Zacchaeus have to climb up on that 28-year-old tree? Poor tree. Zacchaeus dug his heels in to the trunk, clawed his way to the first branch, then to the second, and up onto the third branch, with his legs straddling that third branch, waiting to see the throng pass by under him. What a great vantage point he had. Waiting to see if a 33-year-old Jesus had a balding spot, and watching all those “short” people jumping up to get a glimpse of the Savior. He must have felt like BJOC (big Jew on campus).
The Application of Zacchaeus, the Wee, Little Man
Lots of people today think that they can use 28-year-old established trees to climb up on and make themselves look larger than they really are. They do not have the character to allow time and circumstances to mold them or their ministry into what the Lord wants it to be. They usually take the short cut, climb on the backs of established trees, and try to see Jesus. But in the long run, the Lord will still come right to them and say, “Make haste, and come down” off that 28-year-old tree. I’m paraphrasing now, “Zacchaeus, stand on your own two feet. I, your Lord, will judge you according to what you have done.” Verse 8 says, “Zacchaeus stood.” No longer needing that 28 year old tree to climb upon to look taller than he really was, Zacchaeus finally stood on his own merits, and not the merits of a 28-year-old tree that he Lord had blessed through all the storms and winds of life.
The Time I Could Have Been Zacchaeus, the Wee, Little Man
Years ago, a former Associate Pastor of a large church in Indiana called me. He first apologized to me for believing all the lies, rumors, and innuendoes someone else had been spreading about me. I accepted his apology and said it was alright, many others had called me in the same way. I never held a grudge or wished ill on anyone. He stated that basically the same thing had happened to him. He proceeded to tell me the story of his banishment from the “kingdom.” He said that the Lord had led him to write a book against the pastor who had excommunicated him, and he asked me if I would write a chapter in that book. I immediately said, “No.” I told him that I would never write anything negative about a current pastor of a church.
After several years, that current pastor resigned from his church and moved 1000 miles away. But when he did, he did not join a local church in his area. This was something this pastor would have excoriated any past member of his church had they done the exact same thing. “When you move to a different area, join a church, and become active in that church!” Interesting how men suddenly change their Biblical beliefs when it comes to their own circumstances, almost as if they were above the Bible and their own teaching. It was only at that time, when this former pastor had too much time on his hands, he started spreading more things about me, was he stopped in his tracks by other pastors who disagreed with his spreading discord about a current pastor of a church (me). I am still thankful for those pastors who took the grief for me and struck back against such denominational tyranny, and a denominational tyrant. Still, I held back any “Zacchaeusism.” “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips (Proverbs 27:2)
Zacchaeus’ attempt to improve their stature by self-proclamation. They use words (incorrectly, I might add) like “Author,” when they are nothing like an author. Just because a person writes a book or two, it does not make them an author. The true definition of author is one who writes as a profession. I have written five books, but would never consider myself an author. But living their lives in their own subjective world, Zacchaeus’ see themselves as much more important than they really are. Now, the real Zacchaeus stated, “If I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.” Notice how the Zacchaeus’ of life are such braggers. Like saying, “If any man can show me where I am wrong, I will repent.” They love the hypothetical word “if.” Jesus rightly tells these Zacchaeus’ to “come down.” “Come down” off your high horse; you are merely a man.
Zacchaeus’ attempt to improve their stature by belittling others. Most people realize that there are two ways to be considered righteous. One way is to simply become righteous by humbling ourselves and receiving grace from God. The other way is by tearing down others so that we are the ones left standing taller. They really do not have a ministry to others. That is why they sit around for hours upon endless hours convincing themselves what they do is important. One man belittled my legal knowledge, and my legal research knowledge, so I pointed out with legal authority that he used a legal writing anathema, which only made him mad at me. What a Wee, Little Man. One would think that he would have thanked me. Nope. Never a kind word.
Zacchaeus, what a Wee, Little Man.