Everyone hated Zach – and for good reason. He loved money more than life itself and was willing to cheat even his relatives and neighbors to line his pockets. His outrageous tactics made Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae look like mere pickpockets. Everyone knew he was stealing them blind, but because he worked for the IRS, they had no recourse.
One afternoon, after a long day at work, Zach double-parked his Lexus and ran into the local tailor’s shop to try on another custom-designed suit. He liked to flaunt his wealth by wearing expensive clothes. Besides, he was just a little guy and those traditional “store-bought” suits never fit him quite right.
When he returned to his car he was nearly trampled by a large crowd parading down Main Street. Zach’s curiosity got the best of him so he jumped in his silver sedan and followed close behind, yelling out the window, “Hey, what’s going on? Where’s everybody going?”
No one answered. He may as well have been invisible.
The mob headed towards the hill where Zach’s mansion rested. His was the biggest, most beautiful house in town, but no one ever came to visit. In fact, the only other people that had ever been inside were the decorators and his servants. When it came right down to it, Zach was the loneliest, most discontented man in the whole county. The richer he got, the more people despised him. He finally began to see that there must be more to life than money.
Zach couldn’t get his car around the mob so he parked it and sprinted through the city park to get to the other side. He was dying to know what was going on but by the time he reached the street, he still couldn’t see over the enormous swarm of bodies.
He got an idea. There was a big tree up the road. If he could climb up that tree he’d have a bird’s-eye view of all that was happening. He felt pretty silly climbing a tree in his trendy Armani double-breasted suit, but he didn’t really care if he ruined his clothes. After all, he could go down and buy every suit in the shop if he really wanted to.
Zach climbed up and waited in the tree for a few minutes before he heard the sound of men laughing and cheering. He had heard that there was a new preacher in town and wondered if that man could possibly be the center of all this attention.
Zach’s neck was stretched out like a cobra stalking a sewer rat as he waited for the crowd. Suddenly, the multitude came to a sudden stop right under that Sycamore. Zach froze. He was horrified at being caught spying from his ridiculous perch.
An unfamiliar voice called out: “Zacchaeus! Come down from there!”
Zach recognized the authority in the voice and scrambled down as fast as he could. The stranger continued:
“Zacchaeus, I would like to spend the evening at your house tonight.”
Zach brushed the dirt off his pants and made his way over to Jesus. Side by side, Zach proudly escorted Him up the hill to his house.
The others got pretty ticked off. They wanted to spend some time with Jesus too, but now he was embracing the little twit that had been ripping them off all these years. They were not happy about Jesus’ choice of company.
After Zach’s encounter with Jesus, he was truly a different person. He told Jesus, “I’m really sorry for taking advantage of everyone and for taking money that didn’t belong to me. I want to make things right.”
Zach decided to pay everyone back, even a lot more than he took. He realized that people were much more important than money so he decided to down-size and give half of everything he had to the homeless.
Jesus reminded everyone that He came to save lost people, especially sinners like Zacchaeus. He declared to them, “Zacchaeus is a changed man. He has been saved this very day.”
Zach had gone up that tree a notorious sinner, but when he answered Jesus’ call to come down, a transformation took place. Zach was still a sinner, but now he knew God.
*A contemporary picture of a Biblical truth; from Luke 19:1-10
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