You may know the story of Zacchaeus. He was a tax collector, considered a sinner because of his job. Tax collectors were known to cheat people, to collect excessive taxes to line their own pockets. They were looked upon as the lowest of humans in the time of Jesus. Well, as the story goes, Zacchaeus had heard of Jesus and learned that he would be passing by him soon. Wanting to see who this Nazorean was for himself, Zacchaeus ran out to the road; but the crowd was large and the Gospel tells us that Zacchaeus was short which meant he could not see Jesus over the crowd. But Zacchaeus was also smart, he ran ahead of where he knew Jesus would walk, and climb a tree. Jesus knew Zacchaeus was there, he looked up and called him by name to come down from the tree and that he (Jesus) was to dine with him in Zacchaeus' home. Now, as you can imagine, there were those who thought that this could not be (this is where you hear loud gasps from the crowd, women fainting, etc), how could this prophet, this man who cures the blind could ever sit at a table with a tax collector, a known sinner. And here Jesus has the perfect response - knowing their thoughts, Jesus pointed out to them that Zacchaeus was just like them, a descendant of Abraham.
I am currently working on studying the Gospels, and right now I am into the Gospel of Luke. When I read this passage (Luke 19:1-10) this morning I could not help but to think about the situation of our world today. It made me wonder who would Jesus have dinner with today.
I have a confession, I am one who struggles with judging others, it seems to come so easily (isn't that true for sin in general). I watch the news and look at social media - some I agree with, others I do not which determines what I think of people. But, we live in a world of differences - different skin color, different religions, different economics, different up brings, different, different, different.... The list goes on. But we seem to miss one key issue - we (I mean WE - everyone) was created from God's love.
God does not see us black or white, rich or poor; he sees our hearts and our souls, he sees as we truly are, HIS children.
Now, I know you are all nodding your head and saying - "duh Theresa, we know that." But I ask you, do we truly, really, know that, not just in our brains, but deep down in our hearts, in our souls? When we look at the news, when we see homelessness on our streets, when we see pictures of injustice, and hunger on social media - what do we see - what do we think? Do we hear Jesus saying to us "they are just like you - a Child of God?"
Yes, we are all individuals, but we are also all the same - we hunger for love - love from each other and love from our Father. We need to pray, and pray often to keep our eyes on that one truth. We need to begin to see each other as we truly are, and we need to love each other as we truly are.
Now, I know there are those in this world who do not accept God's love, who do not believe it - but does that change the fact of that God's love it there? No, and we are not responsible for their beliefs - what we ARE responsible for is how to we love them no matter what. Someday when I am standing before the Throne of God - I don't want to hear him say that I failed in seeing his love in the people around me. I know, it's not easy, we need to retrain our brains, we need to open our hearts, we need to remove the scales from our eyes.
We need to see the beautify of God's love which is all around us. Today, I choose love; today I invite Jesus to dine at my table; today, I see you as you truly are - a Child of God.