Tag Archives: Courage

Economics of Zacchaeus

But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.”  Luke 19:8

Economics is about incentives.

Companies or persons hand their resources if in return they get incentives or benefits above what they gave.

Knowing that this guy Zacchaeus is the chief tax collector, accounting or economics are his daily life. He looks for financial benefits in every transaction. His eyes scans the numbers and says if it’s a deal or not.

Not today.

Look at his economics.

Before meeting Jesus:

Net Worth = Z (this is his total worth, assets minus liabilities)

Moments after meeting Jesus:

Net Worth = Z – 0.5*Z = 0.5Z (this is his total worth after giving half to the poor)

Further moments after meeting Jesus:

Net Worth = 0.5Z – image002 (this is his total worth after giving back 4 times to what he extorted per person, E, from the number of people he extorted, n)

Zacchaeus threw what he learned all his life about economic benefits out of his window. His financial worth decreased moment after moment after meeting the Christ. Jesus said, “Today salvation has come to this house…” (Luke 19:9) and Zacchaeus, by his economics, replied, “It’s a deal!”.

We don’t know if he came back to his job as the chief tax collector, I bet he resigned! We don’t know if he became a full time follower of Jesus, just like the Twelve, I bet he did in his own small ways! This is what we surely know – his life turned around and he realized it’s not about the money. That life is not about these financial benefits thus he was willing to give almost all he got.

Jesus saved him. And that is an enough incentive.

 

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Receivers

“Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’ Luke 13:26-27

They ate with the Provider of all things and they were filled. Yet, they did not feed the poor and needy.

They drank with him and their thirst was quenched. Yet, they did not share the fountain of life to the people who were looking for the water of life.

They listened to his messages, they heard his preaching. Yet, they did not pass down what they learn. They did not talk about it to their family and friends.

Whatever they receive they did not give. Whatever they had, they kept it to themselves. Everything stopped with them.

I’m guessing one reason for this — they focused mainly on what they received and not on the one who gave what they received. It filled their stomachs but not their hearts. It quenched their physicality but not their spirituality. It passed through their ears but it was not planted into their hearts. They longed for the gift and not the Giver. Only the Giver satisfies, not the gift.

Jesus is the only way through the door of heavenly gates. And when the time comes, may he not give you the same response, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’ Luke 13:27

Make sure your answer is not similar with these comfortable receivers.

Build your relationship with the Giver, Jesus. Love him who feeds you. Live for him who gives his cup to you. Follow him who reveals his Word to you daily.

And may all these allow you to be a giver of whatever he gives you, to know him more, to love him more and thus you may make him known more and make him be loved more.

Always remember this — Jesus knows not mere receivers but receivers who become givers.

 

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Strong Arm

Be our strong arm each day and our salvation in times of trouble. Isaiah 32:2b

Each of one of us has this.

You depend on it. When you are tightening a glass jar cap or when you are opening a tight one, you use it. You lean on it. When all of a sudden you fall on the street, you put it first. When you push or pull something or when you go against something, a wall or a box, this arm gives you the foundation. It does your hardest work. When you twist a plumbing or when you get into a hole inside your car’s machine, this arm does the job. It reaches out for you. When you rebound a ball or when you jump to hand off a hanging fruit, this arm extends. It may be your left. It may be your right. It can’t be both but all of us have one – a strong arm.

Isaiah prayed that God be our strong arm, “Be our strong arm each day and our salvation in times of trouble. Isaiah 32:2b“. And God is.

He can tighten whatever is loose in your life. He can loosen whatever is in bondage to be in your personal or family life. He is the one you can lean on to. When you fall, he catches you. As you walk the narrow road and may be about to trip, he puts you on his back. He is your strong foundation, when you aim to pull your dreams or when you push away your distractions, you can ask his grace and strength to be there for you. When at your weakest, he comes up to take on what’s tough and what’s rough. He can and he will open things for you, your ideas, your wildest dreams, anything you thought it won’t be possible. He can close matters if these will hurt you or hurt your relationship with him. He extends his love and mercy to you. He reaches out for you when you are about to divert in your walk with him. He reaches out and extends himself whatever you can’t attain. All for you. You can depend on him. You can lean on him. He is the only one. He is the only one you’ve got.

You have him. He is God. He is your strong arm.

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The Finding

Then he removed him and raised up David as their king; of him he testified, ‘I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will carry out my every wish.’ Acts 13:22

He found Peter, with his brother Andrew, fishing in the lake.

A little farther, he finds another pair of brothers, John and James, helping out in their family business, again, doing fishing.

Levi was sitting on his tax post when Jesus found him. After that, he stood up for him.

He saw Zacchaeus sitting on a tree before he called him to dine at his home with his friends.

He found Mary Magdalene about to be stoned, which was  indefinitely postponed, and gave her the love she has not experience before.

He found the Samaritan woman fetching water, she ended up taking the Living Water.

He found his disciples afraid and terrified, about to throw in the white towel, as the waves throw their boat.

He found more than five thousand people like a sheep without a shepherd thus he fed their hearts and their stomach.

Again, he found Peter…sinking in the lake after taking some steps walking on the water and Jesus reached out to him.

Before all these, he found David. He finds a lad running, not in a race, but after God’s heart. He finds a man in love with him.  He finds him thinking about him. He finds him singing psalms for him. He finds a man not after earthly treasures, not a man after a position with power and authority, he finds a man living to please God alone. A soldier who will fight giants for his King. A servant who will do his master’s commands.

Reflect on this…what will God find when he finds you?

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Seeing Grace

When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced and encouraged them all to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart. Acts 11:23

He saw grace.

When he came to them, he saw the grace of God. Yes, he looked at the men and women who are faithful to the Way. Yes, he was welcomed by people loyal to the Lord. In fact, he encouraged them the remain that way in faithfulness. Yes, he saw the people of Antioch advancing the kingdom. In fact, one verse later, a large number of people were added to the Lord. However, when doctor Luke examined the eyes of Barnabas, his pupils reflected the grace of God.

The grace of God. The power to be faithful to the Lord, not the power of depending on oneself to follow him. The strength behind the loyalty more than the willingness to be loyal. The courage to proclaim and advance his kingdom further than the skills to do so. The passion to do what is right and good for others beyond what is expected from one another.

These people are far from being perfect. They just know how to yield to the God’s ever available grace. To be faithful, they depend on his grace. To forward his message, they rely on his grace. To be a growing church, they get that from grace. To receive into their hearts the Apostles’ teachings, they tap on his grace. To act upon the Apostles’ letters and words in their daily lives, they call upon his grace.

May the Barnabas of our lives, see the same grace. That when they look at your church or your prayer group, their eyes will behold the grace of God.  You may struggle. You may have difficulty. You may have heavy trials. You may have usual or unusual challenges. But God’s grace is always available. Depend on it. Be firm with it. Be strong with it.

Let them see God’s grace.

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Resolute

He was amazed at their lack of faith. He went around to the villages in the vicinity teaching. Mark 6:6

Speaking about being resolute.

Jesus was amazed, not on how people believed in him, but in the way these people lacked faith.

People who knew where he was from questioned him. “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands! Mark 6:2b.

People who may know him more believed less. People who know his roots did not believe in his fruits. “Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.” Mark 6:3b.

And yet, Jesus did not waiver in his call to spread the word of God. He went around to the villages in the vicinity teaching. Mark 6:6b. After having an audience who are very discouraging, his courage to go around to teach is inspiring. For Jesus, no matter what happened in the past will not surely affect the present. For Jesus, the results of the past does not necessarily define the present. For Jesus, his response to the call is more important than the response of the people.

May we be like Jesus in being resolute.

After giving a talk to a classroom where students where inattentive and did not listen to you, you move on to the next. Even when the members of your church do not respond to the call to serve the poor, you still come and give your time. You are still in the race even when the persons who were with you from the beginning have stopped and bowed out. You continue to write and blog about Jesus and his offer of salvation even when the blog’s hits are all time low.

Jesus is amazed at their lack of faith. You can amaze Jesus with your action of faith.

Keep on keeping on.

Be resolute.

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Unfamiliar

…and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7

I woke up in an unfamiliar place.

Once a month, we go down to New Jersey to attend our community’s prayer meeting. To cut cost on hotel, my family sleeps over a brother and sister’s home before or after the meetings. We sleep in their comfortable basement yet every time I wake up in the morning, I get this unfamiliarity. I have to take my whole bag to the bathroom, which I don’t do at home. I come up to their breakfast table wondering where will I get my tea or food which I usually and easily does in our kitchen back home. In all these unfamiliarity, I get to miss our home.

He woke up in an unfamiliar place.

Manger. Hays and horses. Lowly shepherds and wise men mixing it up. Teenage mother bearing him in her arms. Carpenter father looking with amazement. This is the first sight of Jesus’ eyes. Unfamiliar.

He is King, now he is an infant. He is worshiped day and night, now he is in the middle of a dark cold night. He tells angels to come here and there, now he is dependent on his earthly parents. He has a Father who created the universe, the world, everything, now he has a father who creates something out of wood.

Let me tell you why he is in this unfamiliar place. For him to become familiar to you. He came to that unfamiliar place to come near to you for you to know him and love him. He came to that unfamiliar place for you to know how much he will go to express his love for you.

Wake up!

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