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Thursday, September 14, 2017
Front yard oak 9/13/17
The large oak in front of our home.
Note the large branches, ideal for climbing.
For a photo from last
November at its peak in autumn color see here.

"Zacchaeus Was A Wee Little Man"

Message summary: Let's seek God today, no matter what overcomings it might require!

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"A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way" (Luke 19:2-4). "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6).

We've lived in our present home for over 15 years now, the longest either of us have ever lived in one place. We have two oak trees in our front lawn, which were likely planted when our house was built in 1986 since our property had been a farm field. In 35 years these trees have now grown to a stately size, benefitting from the same rich Lancaster County soil as generations of corn did before. (One of them is pictured above.) The other night we were sitting out on our front porch and Brooksyne observed that some of the branches are now getting close to our house.

Kids climbing treeThey would be great climbing trees if our tree climbing days weren't long past! But we both recall the fun of climbing trees when we were young. Do you have a memorable tree from your childhood that you recall climbing? Perhaps you built a tree-house or had a tree swing.

If we were to query Bible students we would find one of the most famous trees in the Bible is the Sycamore that Zacchaeus climbed up to see Jesus. He is certainly the best- known Bible tree climber!

We like Zacchaeus' story, don't you? You may also recall this story from Sunday School or VBS. Perhaps, as a child, you sang like we did, "Zacchaeus Was a Wee Little Man", motions and all. Maybe you sing it with your children or grandchildren. As we were preparing this message Ester shared another song about Zacchaeus she recalls by the Donut Man, whom she enjoyed when she was a child.

Part of the intrigue of Zacchaeus' story is that we can identify with him, young children especially, since (apart from liking to climb trees!) they often need others' assistance in reaching or seeing due to their still-growing height.

Zacchaeus in tree Surely Zacchaeus had heard many things about this man called Jesus and now he wanted to see just what He looked like, how He carried Himself, and the way He responded to those who spoke to Him! Being a short man he couldn't see over the multitude of people. I'm sure there were many large gatherings where he ended up missing the big event due to his small stature. When he was young he was likely raised up on his parent's shoulders, but as an adult this was not an option. So Zacchaeus devised a clever plan where he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree. There he would wait until Jesus passed his way.

In our day it wouldn't seem too dignified to look up and spot a rich man perched in a tree, but the story indicates that he had a spiritual interest and that's a very worthwhile motivation. The Bible story gives evidence that his position and wealth had not met his innermost needs. I'm glad that He didn't allow his pride or stature to keep him from seeking out Jesus. I wonder if he actually cared about what others thought of his tree climbing expedition. But if he thought he was going to remain a mere onlooker he was mistaken!

"When Jesus reached the spot, He looked up and said to him, 'Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today'" (Luke 19:5). It brings a smile to my face mentally picturing Zacchaeus' quick, scampering descent to the ground after Jesus spoke directly to him. I don't think that's what Zacchaeus was expecting and so often the Lord meets and calls those who are seeking Him in ways we do not expect. And He's still doing that today, for He continues to "reward those who earnestly seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6). Let's seek Him today, no matter what overcomings it might require!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You see us in our hour of need. You look beyond our supposed prestige, our accumulation of material goods, any earthly titles or accomplishments we've earned. You perceive our thoughts from afar and know the very intent of our hearts. The searchlight of Your Word reveals anything that separates us from You. Thank You that we can be reconciled to You and experience forgiveness of sins through the redeeming blood of Jesus. The riches of Your grace far exceeds the fleeting riches this world has to offer. You lead us in the way everlasting as we earnestly seek You.  We desire to see Jesus more than anything this world offers.  Amen.

Martin giant tree swing 4/21/13
Here's a tree swing on a giant Sycamore tree (Zacchaeus would have had a hard time climbing up this tree!). Our friend Jason is swinging his 3 year old son (at the time) who kept hollering, "Higher, Higher!" You could sure go high on this swing!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Zacchaeus Was A Wee Little Man"  Video  Cedarmont Kids  Just the way we remember singing it!

"Zacchaeus"  Video  The Donut Man  Ester's childhood favorite version.

"Seek Ye First"  Video  Maranatha Singers

"I'd Rather Have Jesus"  Video  Dallas Holm  My favorite version of this song.

"He Knows What He's Doing"  Video 
Jason Crabb  Brooksyne's note: After completing yesterday's message I heard this song and realized how appropriate it was concerning the topic.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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