Monday, April 09, 2007

If You're Lost...Climb a Tree (Part 1)

When is the last time you got lost? For me, it is a regular occurrence. My family is use to it. It’s a joke now when we travel. At least everyone laughs at it but me. It still ticks me off when I get lost. But if we are traveling somewhere we have never been before you can pretty much bank on it. In fact, one time I got lost driving from the church where I was on staff in Ohio to my house. This didn’t happen my first day on the job. This was after making that same drive every day for 4 years.

We all know what it is like to be lost, don’t we? In fact, it has become a very popular theme on television. As a kid, two of my favorite shows centered around people being lost. One was centered in outer space and the other on a deserted island. The first one included a boy named Will, a doctor named Smith and a hyper-active robot. The second one included a first mate, a skipper, a millionaire (and his wife), a professor, and a movie star. Lost in Space and Gilligan’s Island…They just don’t make TV shows like that anymore. Today there is another drama that has the same lost theme. And it is appropriately called, LOST.

But being lost is also a major theme in Scripture and no story seems to bring it to our attention better than the one in Luke 19:1-10. Zaccheus lived in the city of Jericho which would have been one of the wealthiest cities in Palestine. By occupation he was a tax collector. In fact, he was the chief tax collector. He was on the top of the Amway tax collector pyramid scheme. Zaccheus would have contracted with Rome to pay a set amount for the taxes of Jericho. He could then collect as much as he wanted under the authority of Rome (Luke 3:12-13) resulting in his being very wealthy. This came about because he would way overcharge the people so that he could make his wealth on the backs of his Jewish countrymen. As a result, tax collectors like Zaccheus were hated by their fellow Jews. They were put in the same category as sinners (Matthew 9:10; 11:9; Luke 7:34); Pagans (Matthew 18:17); Prostitutes (Matthew 21:31, 32); as well as robbers, evil doers and adulterers (Luke 18:11).

The other things we learn about Zaccheus is that he had a physical limitation. He was short. By ancient Mediterranean standards he was probably under 5 feet tall. Now I am not knocking short people. After all, I am not the epitome of height myself. Actually, all of us have some kind of physical limitation, don’t we? Think about it.

· Are you 100% satisfied with your hair? Most people aren’t. That’s why so many people color it or even go out and by a new head of hair to wear.

· Are you 100% happy with your height or if it were up to you would you be a few inches taller or even shorter? What about the size or look of your feet?

· And what about your weight? Are you satisfied with what your scale communicates every time you step on it? Zaccheus had a physical limitation. We all do in some way. But as we will see tomorrow, Zaccheus was also lost and searching for a rescue.

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