Zacchaeus and My Work

Monday, April 15, 2013

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All I remembered about Zaccheaus was the song I learned in Sunday School, where we got to shake our finger and say, "Zaccheaus! You come down! For I'm going to your house today . . . Yes, I'm going to your house today."

He was the short man who wanted to see Jesus. He climbed up a tree to get a look, and Jesus called him down. That nice Jesus acknowledged him. End of story?

No. I'm sure books could be (have been?) written about Zacchaeus, his story, and what it means for us, today. One line of thought appears in a study my small group just completed about prayer. Our last section was about "praying your work," and we looked at Zacchaeus through the lens of his profession: a tax collector.

I just realized how appropriate this is for today, April 15th - ha! 

Back to the story. Tax collectors were even more despised in Jesus's time than they are today. If you watched The Bible miniseries, you got a good feeling for that. The Romans had completely imposed themselves on the Jews, and one of the ways they abused them was through hefty, unrelenting and discriminatory taxes. Taxes weren't just annoying, they were a way to punish the Jews and keep them down. So, Zacchaeus was a tax collector - the worst of the worst. But he wanted to see Jesus, and Jesus, unbelievably, wanted to go to his house. We learn that after spending time with Jesus, Zacchaeus changed.
Later that day Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "I will give half of my property to the poor. And I will now pay back four times as much to everyone I have ever cheated." Jesus said to Zacchaeus, "Today you and your family have been saved, because you are a true son of Abraham. The son of Man came to look for and to save people who are lost." Luke 19:8-10 (CEV)
He took Jesus's teachings to heart, and he did something. He didn't just say, "Oh yes, Lord, I'll go to church now and try to be a good person at home and on the weekends." No. He actually allowed Christ into his work - the main part of his day. He was still a tax collector, but now, he was a fair tax collector, full of justice. Our book says, "We face the same choice in our life. Our work may be used to glorify God or may be used to circumvent God's purpose."

That makes me think long and hard.

What is one's work, anyway? Mine is hard to define. I spend my days doing many things, none of which I get paid for. Sometimes I look and act professional. Sometimes I'm cleaning toilets. I think that "work" is basically how you spend your day, and often, it is easy for me to think that how I'm spending my day has nothing to do with living for Christ. I'm not a preacher or a missionary. But neither was Zacchaeus. He was a tax collector, for heaven's sake. He found a way to do what he did with a spirit of Christ. Can't I?

Am I in touch with the ways that I can use my work - the way I'm spending my day - to glorify God? Do I even think about that?

I do now. Thanks, Zacchaeus.

What about you?

Linking with:
Michelle for Hear It/Use It

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