July 9 I Friday
“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.’” —Luke 19:8
Zacchaeus, a short man, climbed a tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus passing through a crowd in Jericho. What surprised everyone watching was that Jesus walked right to Zacchaeus and said, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today” (Luke 19:5). How was Jesus so willing to invite Himself over to this man’s home? Maybe Jesus saw Zacchaeus and knew there was a gnawing emptiness in his life and that the pursuit of wealth and the desire for money left him wanting. Whatever the reason may be, Zacchaeus did not hesitate to invite Jesus into his home.
Then, something transformational happened. We are not told what Jesus and Zacchaeus talked about during their time together, but Luke recorded the impact of Zacchaeus’s time with Jesus in one verse, “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’” (Luke 19:8). Not only was Zacchaeus willing to give half his possessions to the poor, but he also made a curious statement, promising to pay back anyone he had cheated four times. The Old Testament law outlined in Leviticus 6:1-5 said if one cheated their neighbour, one had to pay back the full amount with a fifth of the value. In other words, if we cheated our neighbour $100, we would pay back $120. By offering four times the amount, Zacchaeus was being over-the-top generous, where if he cheated his neighbour $100, he would pay back $400. Out of his being with Jesus, we observe there was a newfound generosity and integrity in Zacchaeus’s life.
Jesus responded, “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 to save the lost” (Luke 19:9). The impact of time spent with Jesus was transformational towards Zacchaeus’s perspective of what a life of wealth meant and was for. It is relatively safe to say that Zacchaeus had a new master move into the home of his heart; where he once served money, he now worshipped the Son of God. One of the by-products of Christ moving into Zacchaeus’s life was that where money and wealth had once occupied, it now had a new master. A joyful generosity and business integrity started to emerge as a result.
How have our lives been transformed by our encounter with Jesus? Can we joyfully proclaim that there is a new master in our hearts who has changed the very meaning of our life?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I ask that You occupy my heart and not wealth. I desire to live a life of joyful generosity and business integrity for Your glory. Thank You, Lord.