CLIMB DOWN YOUR TREE
LUKE 19: 1-10
The story of Zacchaeus is known to all of us.
Here is another account of a man who made it big even when he was small.
A story of the conversion of a man who lived in sin but his encounter with Jesus was a pivotal point for him to start anew and be Jesus’s follower.
A man who climbed his worldly tree of pride, selfish ambition, and life in sin climbed down to meet his God.
A story of a man who climbed down his tree and walks free.
This story is a story that all of us can relate to because most of us have our own fictitious tree.
THE DRIVEN ZACCHEAUS
We can learn from the text that Zacchaeus was little in stature yet his size was incomparable to his desire to be big.
His size did not matter as he grew to be bigger than what he was physical.
No matter how small we are, we can reach our trees, our goals, and our dreams.
Our deficiencies are not a hindrance to our success.
Our smallness is no reason to judge ourselves or who we can become.
Maybe your height is less that they don’t accept you to play basketball but you’re a good shooter. You wanted to be a stewardess but because of your love to fly, you pursue it till you become a pilot.
Maybe during that time of Zacchaeus, there were people better than him, but they did not make it.
Because Zaccheaus was driven.
A man who is driven is unstoppable.
We can see that Zaccheaus was driven to be at the top. A man who was driven to be the man he wanted to be.
You can be led by the Holy Spirit but a man driven is not only led but is fighting a devil inside his heart.
When you are led, you follow the desires of your heart, your passion, you take the path God wanted you to go, but when you are driven, you don’t only walk your way out but you fight all the obstacles that are within you.
You wanted to win no matter what.
THE COMFORT OF OUR TREES
But when we reached the pinnacle of our dreams, we climbed the top of our trees that is when we tend to forget the very reason why we climbed the tree.
When we enjoyed the benefit of having it all, the luxury and comforts, the joy and happiness of being at the state of where we are, we tend to forget the very reason why God put us where we are.
We abuse the power, we neglect the responsibility, we become selfish and pride becomes our number one ally.
Yes, we are driven, we are led but it comes to a point when we set aside all of these in exchange for the prestige moment we are into.
Zacchaeus being the chief became greedy and abused his power by taking advantage of his position.
He cheated people by collecting more tax or either giving favor to a “friend with benefit” and cheating the institution he was supposed to serve honestly.
The comfort of our tree becomes our comfort zone to do what we do that satisfies our desires, our ego, and prestige.
We tend to forget that the very reason why we are blessed is to be a blessing to others.
CLIMBING THE FICTITIOUS TREE
The second aspect of climbing our tree is climbing our fictitious tree.
We pretend to be higher than we ought to be.
We hide who we are by climbing the tree to show everybody who we are.
Have you seen people with jewelry all around, a man driving a big car, living in a very big house yet having trouble paying off his mortgage and loan?
Sometimes we portray the other side of ourselves that others may envy us…. To compete with others. To show on the face of those who judge you so that they cannot judge you anymore.
If these are the case, we climb fictitious trees pretending to be higher than who we are.
We don’t need to compete nor compare ourselves as Saint Paul says consider ourselves as least than the rest.
WHEN LITTLENESS TAKES YOU
People tend to be big yet they are small.
Zacchaeus climbed the tree because he was so small.
We hide our deficiency by hiding our true selves to appear bigger than who we are.
Zacchaeus’ mentality is like that. He appeared to be bigger than he was because people looked at him small not only because of his size but because of his crooked doing.
Sometimes to appear beautiful, many consult beauty experts to repair and enhance their bodies to improve self-confidence and change how people see them.
But knowing that we are a masterpiece of God is enough to establish the confidence we should have.
CLIMB DOWN OUR TREE
There was a story of a man who climbs a coconut tree and wanted to end his life. His neighbors noticed what he was about to do so they talked to him and admonished him to change his mind.
In vain, the man was hard-headed that he didn’t listen to them so they decided to call their village leader. The village leader talked to him but without success so they called the local Mayor to take over.
The mayor pleaded with the man to consider his offer to help and give any assistance he needed. But in desperation, they concluded that this man was decided to end his life so they immediately called for their Parish priest.
The Parish priest came and without any word, he blesses the man by the sign of the cross. The man seeing the priest doing this gesture immediately climbed down the tree.
All the people were clapping in amazement except for the mayor. So he approached the man and asked: “ Why did you come down at great speed when the priest came while earlier all of us pleaded you to come?” The man said, “ I was afraid when the priest warned me that if you will not come down, we will cut the tree.”
I know that we surely laugh at this story because even when I told this to my eight and five-year-old son, they did laugh.
But you know? We are like that man who climbed the tree.
We are on the brink of our destruction when we will stay on our fictitious trees. The fictitious tree of our pride destroys our relationship with our family, our friends, and other people.
We consider ourselves higher than they are. We use our position to blackmail them.
It is only when we come down from our tree that we could reconcile and strengthen our relationships with people around us.
ZACCHAEUS CLIMB DOWN
When Jesus approached the tree where Zacchaeus was, He looked up and said “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay in your house.”
God approaches us in our fictitious trees and asks us to come down.
He will never look us down but God looks upon us.
Our situation is not an obstacle for God to look upon us because He doesn’t see our smallness but rather looks upon the bigness of who we really are.
Zacchaeus come down. Now change the name of Zacchaeus to your own name and let this calling be our own calling.
God is calling us down from our fictitious trees. From our pride, from our mask, from our comfort zone.
Imagine what great and amazing things could happen to you when God calls out your name. Because if you don’t believe, better ask Lazarus.
GOD IS CALLING YOU DOWN
God wanted to stay in our house; He wanted to stay in our hearts.
Unless we hurry up and climb down our tree, we cannot have a complete and intimate relationship with God.
It is for us to choose between the comfort of our trees and the comfort of his presence.
Will we stay in the prestige of our situation or accept His invitation?
Will we forsake the tree of our convenience in exchange for our obedience?
God’s desire to dwell in us is far more than the desire of all of us that we dwell in
Climbing down our tree is a sign of our humility.
SALVATION HAS COME TO OUR HOUSE
God seeks those who are lost. He seeks those who nested and cling to the trees of their sins.
But Jesus never calls us out to condemn us but to save us.
It is His mercy and great love and compassion that drive Zacchaeus to climb down.
Maybe Zacchaeus thought, “who am I that this Jesus wanted to stay in my house? Nor who am I that I deserve for His invitation?
There were no words of judgment, no words of condemnation but an act of compassion.
Jesus’ act of compassion leads to Zacchaeus’ conviction and conversion. He offered to repay even half of his possessions to those he cheated.
That very act of God’s love and compassion not only brings conversion but also salvation.
“Today salvation has come to this house, because he too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man has come to seek and save that which was lost.”
Climb down your tree and receive Him humbly.