ABC Bible Character Faith Series

On a Quest for a Better Life! – Zacchaeus’ story

A better life is often defined by access to employment, financial stability, societal acceptance, and living within one’s means. However, it is important to note that none of these criteria guarantees lasting satisfaction or fulfilment, and striving exclusively for them may lead to disappointment.

Many of us have pursued societal acceptance and fame through costly fashion trends, cosmetic procedures or altering our skin colour, only to discover that these standards are in a constant state of flux. Nonetheless, we must ask ourselves: Is social acceptance essential for achieving a better life? What if we are more than the narrow perception that society has of us?

In the Bible, we learn of Zacchaeus whose story is found in Luke 19: 1-10.  Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector and is also known for his short stature. Tax collectors at the time were hated because they were seen as traitors. These were Jews working for the Romans who were imposing taxes. The whole concept of taxes by a foreign authority, the Romans, was detested by the Jews but imagine being the workers of the Romans, in other words, collaborating with them and worse for Zacchaeus, he was a chief.

Zacchaeus’ rank and wealth were the reward of a calling they abhorred, and which was regarded as another name for injustice and extortion. – DA 552.4. He was regarded by society as a “sinner” and one could say that society was justified in referring to him as such. However, I believe his heart was not too hardened. He had been moved by the preaching of John the Baptist found in Luke 3:12-13. “Tax collectors also came to be baptised and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?”  And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorised to do.”

I believe Zacchaeus was on a quest for a better life. He had heard of the good news about Jesus, the one who had shown compassion and kindness towards the forbidden and marginalised. He sought to know who Jesus was and therefore when he received the conviction in his heart, he acted on it. When he heard that Jesus would pass through Jericho, he was determined to see Him.

And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd, he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way“. – Luke 19: 3-4. Two things were in the way of Zacchaeus when on his quest for a better life, his position in society and his height but none of these were an excuse for him. He ran and climbed up into a tree. What society thought of him did not matter because he had received Jesus as his personal saviour.

And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” – Luke 19: 5-10

I believe that a better life for me, like Zacchaeus, is to be right with God, through Jesus. To be right with God is to accept the conviction we receive and accept Jesus as our personal saviour. Here, Jesus’ righteousness is counted on us. However, no repentance is genuine that does not work reformation. The righteousness of Christ is not a cloak to cover unconfessed and unforsaken sin; it is a principle of life that transforms the character and controls the conduct. DA 555.6. Zacchaeus had offended the society publicly and so he received the opportunity for public confession.

When we hear the good news and seek God, He makes Himself known to us and the beauty of knowing God is that He is never out of fashion and most important, He doesn’t change. Once we receive His son, Jesus we are no longer defined as sinners and what society says about us holds no weight. We understand that earthly things no longer hold a higher place than our loyalty to God. Zacchaeus, manifesting the love of Christ, gave to the poor and returned fourfold to those he had taken from. Up until this day, we are still talking about him because he chose to focus on eternal matters.

The challenge is now yours. On your faith journey, are you on a quest for a better life? There’s nothing wrong with wanting a thriving career, financial stability etc. but as we are on a quest for those, let us remember that they are all earthly things that will fade one day and let us embark on our quest for eternal things. Let us embark on our quest to know God.

Here are some challenges for you as we end the ABC Bible Character Faith series:

  1. Instead of doing your devotion whilst lying in bed, sit up and if you need to, wash your face so you are actively involved in your study.
  2. Get involved in service in your local church. Utilise your gifts and talents in ministering to others. Do not just sit through service, ask the leaders to create a forum for the youth to serve.
  3. Start a youth fellowship where like-minded youth can meet and be transparent about the issues of life. Remember, for a believer, the spiritual and social are one.
  4. Lastly, seek out mentorship that will pour into you.

Announcement

As a thank you to those who’ve been reading the blogs, I’ll be rewarding 3 people. To be considered for a reward, drop me a message about your most relatable character from the blogs and why. Please include the author of that blog, if no author is stated under the title, then it’s me, Lauretta.

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