Worthy of the True Bounty

You may have sang this song on repeat as a child:

“Zacchaeus was a wee little man,
And a wee little man was he.
He climbed up in a sycamore tree
For the Lord he wanted to see.

And as the Savior passed that way
He looked up in the tree and he said,
Zacchaeus you come down,

For I’m going to your house today!
For I’m going to your house today!”

The scriptures tell us that Zacchaeus was a wealthy chief tax collector. Prior to his encounter with Jesus, his worth would have been based on his position and/or wealth, yet it would never fill the gap.

We crave the things of this world to appease our need for worth. The world is so good at selling us a packet of goods that will then make us feel complete – yet, when we attain them all, we still find ourselves lacking.

Zacchaeus had it all, yet it all fell short. He yearned for the one thing that could finally fill the gap in his chest, Jesus. Even with all his accolades and wealth, he found himself unworthy of standing next to Jesus.

He already had multiple scorns against him. First, he was a Jew AND a tax collector. The Jews would look at any Jewish tax collector as a traitor to their people, as they were supporting the work of Rome. Second, he was a wealthy tax collector. Keeping all the money collected over the tax is what paid tax collectors of the time. They were known for their cheating practices, and Zacchaeus was very good at his job.

Zacchaeus was a small man, yet had a large will. He was desperate to see Jesus, and climbed that sycamore tree. His own men could have scorned him, as I’m sure this was beneath him to climb that tree. But pride was cast aside, as all he had to be proud of was found lacking.

Others may have stood by and laughed, “Look, there’s Zacchaeus looking as foolish as a child climbing that tree!” Yet, his heart contained no foolish desire, instead for possibly the first time, it contained a hope for a fulfilling purpose. It contained a child-like faith.

Stopping under that sycamore tree, Jesus called out, “Zacchaeus!” He called him by name! Just that simple action, probably made Zacchaeus’ heart leap within him. “Come down immediately,” Jesus said, “I must stay at your house today!”

You wonder if Zacchaeus finally felt “found.” As if all of his life he was roaming and lost, and finally was found by a man who would restore him and give him a true purpose.

Without a second thought, Zacchaeus hurried down from the tree, as others muttered, “Jesus wants to be the guest of that sinner.” At that moment, Zacchaues had two voices he could have listened to.

He could have listened to the people surrounding him as they were handing him his worth – “You are a sinner. You do not deserve to have Jesus over for dinner, let alone even speak to you.”


He could listen to the voice of Jesus, who was saying (in not so many words), “You are worth my time and effort. No matter your past, you and I can have a future that is more bountiful than you have ever experienced.”

Both voices were handing him his worth. He chose correctly when responding to both voices.

“Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.”

Zacchaeus went from greedy to generous as his true identity was claimed in Jesus. He was a son of Abraham! Truthfully, he had always been a son of Abraham, but never had he acted like it. On this day, he was being restored in front of many.

He was reminded that he belonged to Jesus – He was now worthy to have Jesus over for dinner. Not because of who he was before, but because of who he was in Christ!

Zacchaeus found his purpose when he found his worth in Christ.

Perhaps we all need that reminder as we seek out our purpose: You are a daughter of Christ, worthy of Him, worthy of His affection, worthy of His time, worthy of His correction, worthy of His purpose! Set aside the past. Set aside the worth the world wants to throw your way. Instead, embrace that a life bigger and better than all that the world will entice you with, exists by lowering ourselves out of our sycamore trees and hurrying towards Jesus.

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