Today, I will end the series of blogs called, “Jesus’ Perspective on Giving” by taking a look at Zacchaeus.
Before we do, I want to remind you that this series came about through a prompting from the Holy Spirit. I feel that much is being taught regarding money and Christian life that is outside of biblical direction. I don’t have issues with anyone, just want to know the truth.
Now, on to the story.
Those who have been around the church since they were children know the story of Zacchaeus. We learned a song about Zacchaeus when we were children. You remember?
Our focus tonight is not on Zacchaeus’ height but upon his life.
Zacchaeus was a Jew and he was a chief tax collector. This made him extremely unpopular with his fellow Jews and the religious leaders. As a matter of fact, tax collectors were considered sinners. They were hated for two primary reasons:
- They taxed Jewish people to give money to their Roman oppressors.
- They often took more than they were supposed to for personal gain.
Zacchaeus must have taken more than what he was supposed to because of his response to Jesus’ visit. Upon meeting Jesus, Zacchaeus responded by saying:
If I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.
It might have been more accurate if Zacchaeus would have said, “What I have taken…..” I don’t know why he would have said he would restore if he had not taken/stolen.
We are all so moved by his true repentance followed by a desire to restore what was stolen to his fellow man. But, his repentance was also accompanied by a conviction to change his lifestyle. The Bible tells us that Zacchaeus was rich. Now, restoration of stolen goods is one thing that reflected his true repentance. But, there was another aspect reflected in his true repentance:
A lifestyle change.
I give half of my goods to the poor.
So, two things happened that day which reflected Zacchaeus’ change: he restored what he had stolen and he changed his lifestyle.
Notice what Jesus said and didn’t say. He didn’t say: “Zacchaeus, there is no need to give half your goods to the poor. You have already restored what was not yours.”
You see, Zacchaeus had a revelation that everything he had was not his. How many of us have truly had such a revelation?
Upon hearing Zacchaeus’ words, Jesus says:
“Today, salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham.”
I have heard some teach that Abraham is our father in the faith. I agree. I have heard them say that we are to follow Abraham’s example of faith. I agree. I have heard them say that we are heir to the blessings of Abraham. I agree.
But, if riches were an indicator of the blessing of Abraham, then why didn’t Jesus tell Zacchaeus not to give away his wealth? Jesus said that Zacchaeus was a son of Abraham. So are you and I in the Spirit.
Zacchaeus’ deliverance was evidenced by his willingness to change his lifestyle to match that mirrored by the heart of God.
To wrap this up:
Some might ask me: What do I do with my money to live a lifestyle pleasing to God?
I would say that the steps are:
- Realize that everything you have is God’s: you are a steward.
- Realize that riches are not an evidence of God’s favor.
- Realize that poverty is not an evidence of godliness.
- Resist the “deceitful voice” of money.
- Ask God to reveal to you what a biblical lifestyle looks like for you.
- Be ready to share anytime God tells you.
- Realize your decrease makes room for God’s supply.