Zacchaeus’ Financial Decision
Remember the story of Zacchaeus? Of course you do, and you remember the song that goes with it too.
Our church has been going through a series on evangelism, and recently the message was on this story. So to paraphrase, Zacchaeus was a tax collector, and like many other tax collectors, was considered a cheat and disliked by the people. Of course it was a profitable profession for him, and he had grown wealthy by cheating people.
I was reading the story as the pastor was sharing the message, and something hit me in verse 8 of Luke 19. Zacchaeus has just been told he will be hosting Jesus for the night and responds to Jesus, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.”
Two things are important there. First, Zacchaeus calls Jesus “Lord.” By doing so, he tells Jesus that he honors His authority and then follows that statement by coming into agreement with Jesus’s authority over his life. Zacchaeus seems to recognize the barrier between him and God is his greed. Therefore to have a relationship with Jesus, Zacchaeus has to make a financial decision. Jesus then tells him that, “Salvation has come to this house.”
This whole giving issue isn’t simply about giving to help the church or help the poor. It’s about having a heart of humility towards our Lord. Showing Jesus that everything is under His authority, and nothing will keep us from Him.
The story made me consider who else made a financial decision because of their faith? Just off the top of my head, in the New Testament (not including parables) I thought of the apostles who left everything to follow Jesus. I thought of the widow who gave her last two coins as an offering. And on the other hand, I thought of the rich young ruler who wasn’t willing to part with his wealth. And Ananias and Sapphira who were willing to give, but not everything, although they wanted it to appear they gave it all.
It’s about the motivation to give, and what we are telling God by the action of giving. Do you need to make a financial decision to show Jesus He is Lord?