I can identify with Zacchaeus. You see, Zacchaeus was short and I’m well… you might say I’m vertically challenged or just plain short. At 5 feet tall, I often find it hard to see around a crowd. I stand on my tiptoes when at a parade or other events just to be able to see around the crowd. Although I guess now that we are social distancing, it’s no longer a problem. Still though, there are times when I feel almost invisible. People tend to look right over the top of me and not even notice I’m there. The advantage to that is that if I don’t want to be seen in a crowd, I can simply blend in and no one realizes I’m there. My husband has actually had a hard time finding me a few times for that very reason. So what does a short person do when he/she wants to see or be seen? Let’s see what Zacchaeus did.
Zacchaeus really wanted to see. He had heard about Jesus and he wanted to see this man that he had heard so much about. After trying to see through the crowd, he decided to do something about it. He ran ahead and climbed a tree.
I wonder, “Would I have been as determined to see Jesus as Zacchaeus was or would I have given up?” I like to think I also would have climbed a tree although at this stage in my life, I admit I find it a little hard to imagine myself climbing a tree – me, a grandma, climb a tree?
Anyway, Zacchaeus did climb a tree. He climbed a tree and he did see Jesus, but the story doesn’t end there. What truly amazes me is that Jesus saw Zacchaeus! Not only did Jesus see Zacchaeus, but he also stopped. He stopped and invited himself to Zacchaeus’ home. I imagine Zacchaeus was surprised when Jesus saw him in that tree and even more surprised that Jesus stopped and invited himself to his house. Zacchaeus knew that he hadn’t exactly been living an honest life. He knew that he wasn’t well liked by the people of Jericho where he lived. Why would Jesus stop to see him? Why would He want to spend time at his house? The answer lies in Jesus’ amazing love for us. Jesus saw Zacchaeus. Jesus loved Zacchaeus and Jesus wanted a relationship with Zacchaeus.
Jesus knew that Zacchaeus wanted to see him. He wanted Zacchaeus to know that God loved him and would forgive him. Even up in the leafy branches of a tree, Jesus sought out Zacchaeus. He dined at Zacchaeus’ house that day and
Zacchaeus was changed forever. He gave back what he had stolen. He helped the poor all because Jesus looked up in that tree and saw him.
Jesus sees you too. He sees you and He seeks relationship with you. Whatever your stature or status, no matter how BIG or how small you see yourself, no matter what you’ve done or haven’t done and no matter what others think of you; Jesus sees you. He sees you and He invites Himself into relationship with you. He wants to be your friend forever. He will forgive you and help you to be all that He desires for you to be. If you ever feel small, alone, frightened, unforgiven or simply in need of a very good friend, remember, Jesus sees you and because Jesus sees you, you can be sure your life will change forever. When we begin to spend time with Jesus by welcoming Him into our homes, our lives, our homes and all we do, His love changes our hearts until we begin to love like He loves. Do you feel insignificant, like nobody sees or cares? Jesus does. He sees you wherever you are. He sees you. He knows you and yes, He loves you!
PARENT OR GRANDPARENT PRAYER
Thank you that you see me and desire relationship with me everyday. I sometimes feel so small Jesus. Does anyone even know I’m here? I’m small in stature and at times I feel small and inadequate in life too. Yes, I admit, that there are times when it’s nice to be small. It’s nice to hideaway and be alone; to withdraw from life’s demands in a cozy little place and just rest. Maybe it would even be nice to climb a tree so I could be up high and see all that is going on around me without being noticed. But I am so thankful that you see me. You see me when I feel small and inadequate. You see me when I struggle with forgiving others. You see me when I am hiding away and you see me when I desperately need forgiveness. Wherever I am at, you see me and you come to me because you desire relationship with me. You want to forgive me and give me strength for my journey. Thank you Jesus, for being such a good friend. Thank you for your love and forgiveness. Change my heart, God, to love and forgive because you love and forgive me. Show me how I can help my kids remember that you love them. You are the one who fills our hearts with love and changes us forever. Amen
HOSPITALITY & COMMUNITY IN A SOCIALLY DISTANT WORLD
Have you noticed how hard it is to be in community with others or even feel like you are part of a community with all the social distancing we are encouraged to do right now? Yes, it’s better than it was. Businesses are reopening, churches are reopening and you can now dine in at restaurants, but still greeting someone in line at the store or striking up a conversation with the person in the table next to you at a restaurant is not as easy as it used to be when you are at least 6 feet or more apart! And what about having people over to your house? Should you do it or not? I honestly don’t know! I’m struggling to know what to do too. What can we do to build community and relationships? Here are a couple of ideas that I’m trying out. I would love to hear your ideas too.
* I know it’s not quite the same as face to face, but what about facebook messenger, Zoom, FaceTime or other social meeting/get together sites. Arrange a time to meet, pour yourself a cup of coffee and have a good chat with your growth group, family or friends.
* An old fashioned card sent via the mail or a telephone call is a good way to reach out to someone as well. Wondering how some people that you haven’t see for awhile are doing? Call or text.
* Go ahead, meet with 2 – 3 friends at your house. If the sun is shining, put on your coats and sit outside. Inside or out with a small group, you can still maintain social distancing protocol.
* Make it a smile week. See how many smiles you can share with your family and with others. A smile can be with your eyes if you are wearing a mask.
* Make some care calls with your child – call an aunt or a friend you haven seen just to check in.
* Do a care dash – deliver cookies, flowers or a note to someone’s doorstep.
* Don’t forget prayer – offer a prayer for someone you know who needs a little love and care. Prayer is never socially distant. Follow your prayer up with a quick call or text to let him/her know you are thinking about him/her.
What can you do with your child this week?
THE MAIN IDEA: Jesus’ love changes us.
SHARE A STORY: A Little Man Meets Jesus – Luke 19:1-10
KNOW: Jesus loved Zacchaeus and Jesus loves me.
TALK ABOUT: What happened to Zacchaeus when Jesus saw him in the tree?
ASK: Who loves you? Jesus loves me.
AND DO….. What can you do? I can love others because Jesus loves me.
* Weigh and measure your child this week. See how much he/she has grown. Jesus loved you when you were a little baby, and He loves you now. No matter what size you are or what you do, Jesus will always love you.
STORY: Once a man named Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus. (Put hand by eyes.) He heard that Jesus was coming to his town, so he hurried (Pretend to run.) down the road trying to find a spot where he might be able to see, but a whole crowd of people was already waiting to see Jesus and Zacchaeus wasn’t very tall. He wasn’t very tall at all! (Show short with hand.) How would he be able to see? (Hand by eyes.)
He stretched up as high as he could, (Reach up high.) he couldn’t see. (Hand by eyes.) He tried peeking between people and squeezing through the crowd. (Wiggle shoulders as though trying to get through.) Still he couldn’t see. (Cover eyes.) Then he thought, “I will run (Run in place.) ahead and climb (Pretend to climb a tree. Climb, climb, climb!) that tree, then I will be able to see.” That’s just what he did! He ran (Run, run, run!) and climbed (Climb, climb, climb!) up, up, up into the tree. He saw Jesus! Yeah! Jesus was coming his way!
“Why would Jesus come his way?” Zacchaeus wondered. He hadn’t done very good things. He had taken more money for taxes than he was supposed to and nobody liked him very well.
But when Jesus reached the spot where Zacchaeus was. He looked up (Look up with hand above eyes.) right at Zacchaeus. He said, “Zacchaeus, come down.” Jesus said, (Point down.) “I am going to your house today.”
Zacchaeus was so excited. Jesus was coming to his house! Zacchaeus quickly climbed down from the tree. (Pretend to climb down. Smile.) He hurried home to welcome Jesus. (Say, “Welcome Jesus!”) Zacchaeus was so happy. (Smile.) Jesus wanted to be his friend!
Jesus loved and forgave Zacchaeus for all the things he had done wrong. And Zacchaeus started doing what was right. He said, “Jesus, I want to give my money to help poor people. And I will pay back what I have stolen.” Jesus changed Zacchaeus’ heart. Now Zacchaeus wanted to love others just like Jesus loved him.
Jesus loved Zacchaeus. (Give self a hug.) and Jesus loves you. Jesus’ love changed Zacchaeus. When we have Jesus’ love in our hearts, we become more like Jesus too. We are being changed to become like Jesus and love like Jesus loves.
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, Thank you for loving me. I know you want to be my friend just like you wanted to be Zacchaeus’ friend. Forgive me when I don’t do what I should and help me to be more like you. I want to love others like you love, Jesus. Amen
MEMORIZE: 2 Cor. 3:18 NIRV – (Hold hands as though holding a book.)
So we are being changed – (Put a fist on top of the other and rotate.)
To become – (Clap hands.)
More like Him – (Hands wide out to sides, then point upwards.)