Devotional Reading from the Daily Common Lectionary: Luke 19: 1-10
Text: Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give away to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” (v. 8)
Every year, in preparation for Advent and Christmas, I read Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. I love the way Gospel message is seen in the transformation of ‘Ol Scrooge from a small spirited miser who gave up his “true love”, Belle, for another love, Gold, and the illusion of its security. When Scrooge is touched by the ghost of his deceased business partner and is visited by three “spectres”, his spirit is brought back to life, to a new life. He is transformed from a feared mean-spirited miser to the most generous Old London ever knew, “and it could be said that he kept Christmas better than anyone the city ever knew.”
A similar transformation occurred with Zacchaeus when Jesus came into his life. It was Grace that called Zacchaeus and changed him forever. He may or may not have still been a tax collector but now he what it was to be generous. He cared for the poor and kept honest books. He no longer profited off of the misery of others. Rather, he looked out for others, especially the least, the last, and the lost. Seeing his change of heart, Jesus pronounced a benediction, a blessing; “Today salvation has come to this house, for he too is a child of Abraham.”
And so it is with Jesus. When He touches your life, you become changed, “a new creature”, in the words of the apostle Paul. The old is gone and the new is born.
Lord God, touch my heart and soften it to be responsive to the least of Your children. Help me to rely upon Your grace for my security. While I cannot have a new start, give me a new beginning and continue to mold me into the child You know me to be. Amen.