Friday, April 3, 2009

Going out on a limb

Recently I made a spontaneous purchase. It was a book. Surprise, surprise. Me buying a book is not that unusual. It just wasn’t the book I specifically went to the bookstore to get. It was a small book (136 pages) and relatively inexpensive. Plus, I had a discount card that saved me an extra 20% off.

Scott was the one who first pulled it off the shelf, handed to me saying it looked like my kind of book. I took one look at it, totally agreed with him and bought the book.

After reading the first 50 pages or so, I was a little disappointed. The content didn’t seem to be nearly as thrilling as making the spontaneous purchase itself, so I put it down for a couple of days. I’m one of these people that cannot leave a book unfinished. Even if it’s the most boring book I’ve ever read and it takes me weeks to do it, I simply have to finish it. A few days later I picked the book back up and took it with me because I knew I was going someplace where I was going to have to wait. I figured a boring book was better than just sitting there doing nothing.

Well, surprise, surprise. The second half of the book turned out to be worth the price and any associated spontaneous purchase guilt.

What caught my attention and eventually sucked me in was when I read the sentence that said something like, “Zacchaeus went out on a limb for Jesus.”

The author went on to explain that the people of Zacchaeus’ community just paid their taxes and went about their lives. They tolerated Zacchaeus and his tax collecting ways. They didn’t like it, but they played along for the sake of keeping peace. There’s no record of anyone else trying to help Zacchaeus see the error of his ways. They just labeled him a sinner and left it at that. I think we can assume that most had given up on trying to influence him to change so they turned their eyes from his business ethics and basically ignored him.

“But Jesus looked at him and believed in what he could become, so He invited Himself to dinner.”

And immediately Zacchaeus changed.

Then the author asked, “Is there a Zacchaeus in your life? Somebody that everybody else’s has given up on? Judged incapable of any further good?”

Well, hmmmm. There might be. So what if there is?

I’m not about to go and tell them what they’re doing is wrong. That would be rude. Plus, it would make me look like the bad guy, being so judgmental and all. I don’t need anything else that encourages other people to think that I think I’m better than them. No. I just act cool. Look away. Turn my head. Ignore it. Just let them go on doing what they do. That’s the polite thing to do. That’s showing love, isn’t it?

And while I’m ignoring them and looking the other way, playing my politically correct game, I miss seeing that they’re out on a limb looking for Jesus.

And I miss my opportunity to point them to Him.

Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." Luke 19:9

The book is The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning

1 comment:

Jules from "The Roost" said...

Sounds like it was worth the read for that one sentence! Someone came to my mind too that I do NOT need to give up on. Thanks