Monday, September 6, 2010

Living Up to Your Name—Or Not (Luke 19:1-10)

Have you ever felt that you weren’t living up to someone else’s expectations of you? Zacchaeus, a corrupt businessperson, may have felt that way every time he heard his name, which means “pure.” He was a chief tax collector—a big name in the big world of big rip-offs. He and his cohorts regularly inflated citizens’ tax bills, then pocketed the extra cash before giving the payments to their Roman bosses. The name that Zacchaeus had made for himself seemed entirely inconsistent with the name his parents had given him . . . until Zacchaeus met Jesus.

Before he met Jesus, Zacchaeus was completely committed to the life he’d chosen, a life of one hundred percent selfishness. His zeal was undiluted. He wanted all he could get—and was used to getting it. He wasn’t just a tax collector; he was a chief tax collector. He wasn’t content to wait patiently for a turn to see Jesus; he ran ahead of the crowd. He wasn’t happy with being part of the crowd; he raised himself above the others by climbing a sycamore fig tree.

His all-or-nothing mentality eventually served him well, though, when channeled in the right direction. When Jesus showed Zacchaeus how empty his life really was, Zacchaeus wanted all Jesus had to offer. Zacchaeus gave himself wholeheartedly to Jesus and showed true repentance by a radical change in lifestyle. Instead of taking from the poor, he gave to them. Rather than cheating people, he restored what he’d previously taken, with interest. After his encounter with Jesus, Zacchaeus could tell a wonderful, true story about how Jesus enabled him to be pure—and not in name only.

What about us? Our Father has called us, “children of God” (1 John 3:1), but we don’t always behave as His children. The good news is this: He’ll do for us what He did for Zacchaeus. He will transform us into what He created us to be. He’ll help us live up to the name He’s given us.

“Dear friends, now we are children of God,
and what we will be has not yet been made known.
But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him,
for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2 NIV).

Copyright © 2010 Sherrie Lorance. All rights reserved.

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