40 Days with Jesus – November 14th – Luke 19:1-10
“’Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.’ So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.”
It has probably been fifteen years since a church, where I served on staff, invited a man named Josh Hunt to come and teach us “How to Double Your Class in Two Years or Less.” Josh was, and is, a notable Christian author and speaker in the area of church growth. At the time he had an acronym for us to use in growing our LifeGroups: T.I.G.E.R. Now, I honestly do not remember what the other letters stood for, but I do remember that “G” stood for “Give Friday Nights to Jesus.” He said nothing else was more effective in connecting new people to the church and opening the door to their salvation.
I’ve been feeling some conviction leading up to writing this devotion. The last devotion I wrote in this series (Oct. 21) involved a Pharisee and his hospitality (or lack thereof) to Jesus. Now, in Luke 19:1-10, Jesus invites Himself to the home, and hospitality, of Zacchaeus – who climbs a tree in order to observe Jesus and satisfy his curiosity about him. See the common denominator here?: Hospitality. I’m getting the message (again) that Jesus sees hospitality as pretty important.
As Jesus walked down the road, on this final trip through Jericho, it would have been so easy to keep His focus on those who were closest to Him and in his current line-of-sight. In spotting Zacchaeus up in the tree, Jesus recognized someone who was lost and searching…and it was with him that Jesus intentionally chose to invest time.
It is so easy for us, as followers of Christ, to spend time with one another. After all, that’s part of what the church is all about, isn’t it? Community. And while we might make visitors and guests feel welcome and valued on our church campus, I believe Jesus is calling us to welcome lost and searching guests into our homes, as well…not restaurants, but those sanctums we love, and are called to share: our homes.
Lots of people frowned on Jesus “breaking bread” with Zacchaeus and his family. Zacchaeus, a Jew, was a hated tax-collector in cahoots with the occupying Roman government; seen as a traitor by most Jews. By his own admission, he had cheated many and built great wealth for himself. At first glance, Jesus did not have a whole lot in common with Zacchaeus, but no doubt, they found things to talk about… and look what happened!
“Today salvation has come to this house… For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Josh Hunt says ninety percent of the people you invite to your home…play cards with, grill burgers with, play board games with…will become believers and maturing followers of Christ. The bible confirms these efforts in 1 Peter 4:9, “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” And Romans 12:13 says, “Get in the habit of inviting guests home for dinner,” or another translation says, “Always be eager to practice hospitality.” Carleen and I have been blessed with a nice home, that we really enjoy, but, I confess, we have not welcomed as many people into it as we could have. I’d like to do something about that this year, and I believe Jesus would like that too. It may not always be Friday night, but any night is better than none.
So who, in your life is “up a tree,” waiting for and seeking Jesus? Let’s invite ‘em over!
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