Prof. Brian Hull – “Keeping It By Giving It”
“Jesus entered Jericho and made His way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way. When Jesus came by, He looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. ‘Zacchaeus!’ he said. ‘Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.’ Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.
But the people were displeased. ‘He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,’ they grumbled. Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!’ Jesus responded, ‘Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.’” - Luke 19:1-10
In this story the crowd’s reaction to Jesus was grumbling about Jesus “going to the house of a sinner.” The people considered themselves more holy than Jesus because they were remaining clean by not associating with this sinner. Jesus reminded them of their first call: to be good shepherds. He quotes part of Ezekiel 34 to remind them of what they are supposed to be doing, but what He is really doing.
Are we being good shepherds, strengthening the weak, healing the sick, binding up the injured, seeking out the lost? Are we just content to be comfortable where we are? Or are we actively seeking out those who are lost, hurting, sick, and weak?
Part of what it means to be good stewards of what God has given us is to not just protect it in the comfort of our safety. This is the paradox of following Christ: the only way to truly keep what we have been given is to give it away.
List out today at least three people you know who are hurting or lost in some way. Ask God to show you how you can help join Christ, the good shepherd, in reaching those people.
- Prof. Brian Hull, Assistant Professor of Christian Studies & Philosophy