Something weird is going on in my house. I think its haunted. Not counting my keys always disappearing and someone shrinking my clothes, something terrifying is going on. When I look into my bathroom mirror, I don’t see myself, I see an old man standing there! I don’t recognize him at all. He is really out of shape and when I get out of the shower, that old dude is in worse shape yet! He wasn’t always there, but he doesn’t leave now. Its pretty scary!
God’s view is like a mirror too. He see’s things that we don’t recognize. He see’s the reality that I choose to deny. In a way I’m glad when it comes to me. He see’s my ugly sin nature and He’s aware of how badly I need His help, but He see’s a value in me that others, and sometimes myself, don’t see. Sometimes its hard for us to see that value in others. Their sin nature stands out and that’s all we see. In fact, some people really boast and are proud of their poor behavior, but does God still see the value in them? Is there any hope for those prancing along in a gay pride parade? What value in child molesters? Crooks, con men and politicians? Even Islamic terrorists? How about a little tax collector named Zacchaeus?
In Jesus day, tax collectors were the worst. They betrayed their own people for money and had the Roman army to back up their scheming. They were regarded as worse than murderers. In my mental movie, I picture Danny DeVito as playing Zacchaeus. Much easier to get the picture now, huh? So little Danny hears that Jesus is coming so he climbs up into a tree to check Him out. The tree he climbed was a sycamore tree which really sprawls out and overhangs everywhere. The crowd is getting louder as Jesus gets closer and suddenly He’s there. Jesus see’s Danny and stops, and the crowd gets silent. Little Zacchaeus is now squirming a bit, he wanted to see Jesus, but now he knew he was in the spotlight and he was in trouble. After all Jesus was righteous and even Zacchaeus knew what a little weasel he was. Its an awkward moment, and Jesus tells him to come down. So Danny DeVito falls from the tree and we see a poof of dust (my version), Jesus tells him that He will be staying with him tonight. I can’t imagine the rush that comes over Zacchaeus. All the shame and guilt comes over him. He is in the presence of extreme light and little Zacchaeus was the ugly darkness and he knew it. They both did. While Zacchaeus saw his filthy sin for the first time and repented, Jesus saw something of value worth saving. Jesus couldn’t force salvation on him, but he humbled himself and repented. He was saved and got his name in the greatest book of all time.
Friends, God see’s value in you. You haven’t done anything so bad that He can’t or won’t forgive. Zacchaeus didn’t get his “act together” before climbing that old sycamore. He did it with all his ugly dirty stuff still in his heart and past. Zacchaeus also didn’t claim he was good enough either, after all, he probably could have summoned a Roman solder to enforce his words. He wasn’t faking it and he really poured it all out, didn’t he? Jesus knew all about it, but until Danny DeVito confessed on his own accord, he had no hope.
I’m mighty glad God see’s things differently than I do. I need to learn to see the intrinsic value in other people too. Jesus died for them too. Thank you Danny DeVito for that lesson.
You know friends, if I squint my eyes a bit, and from a certain angle, that creepy old man in the mirror doesn’t look quite so bad. I sure hope you’re squinting the next time you meet me! Now where the devil are my keys?! Pray hard.