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Dealing with honesty

This month we begin a new theme ‘An Inheritance of Love’ reflecting upon the inheritance we pass on to others by the way we live. In today’s story, we are told about a man who had everything but who was completely lonely. His isolation had come about because of his lifestyle. He was a Jewish tax collector who worked for the Roman occupiers, collecting taxes from his own people and becoming very rich in the process had made him despised by the public at large. Facing up to what he had become and dealing with it in an honest manner changed his life.

The story is a short one. It only takes up a few lines, but in it we are introduced to the amazing pull that Jesus had on those who felt they were on the edge of society. Zacchaeus is the man who climbed a tree to see Jesus. While he was up the tree he caught the eye of Jesus. And as they say: the rest is history.  

Meeting Jesus transformed his way of thinking. When he met Jesus he discovered he was dealing with honesty and truthfulness and by the end of the day he was re-ordering his finances and his  way of life. Zacchaeus is remembered because he allowed Jesus to draw him into his circle of love and forgiveness. And he in turn discovered a new inheritance. He found Jesus.

What tree do we need to climb today to allow Jesus to catch our eye? What changes would happen in our lives if we had a meal with Jesus today?

I know I have too much stuff
I think we’re having the same conversation you had with Peter
Of course I love you
Can we carry this conversation on another time?
I’m dealing with too much right now
Can I be honest?
I’ve a train to catch
Can you let yourself out
Just pull the door behind you 
I mean, after you’ve finished your meal
I’m sorry I can’t stay longer to talk
If I did too much would change
You see I don’t mind being honest
It’s dealing with it — that’s the hard part

Luke 19: 1-10 (NRSVA)

1 He entered Jericho and was passing through it. 2 A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax-collector and was rich. 3 He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycomore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. 5 When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.’ 6 So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. 7 All who saw it began to grumble and said, ‘He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.’ 8 Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, ‘Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.’ 9 Then Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.’


By Isobel morrison, 2 weeks ago

I am delighted you have moved back to the earlier time - thank you.

By Lorna Hutcheon , 2 weeks ago

Thank you for this challenging reflection. How easy it is to think of Zacchaeus as someone to be reformed and join us worthy Christians! How hard it is to accept and act on the actions Jesus requires of us to climb down our trees!

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