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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Luke 19:1-10 Shake you up

The gospel of Luke is full of ironies. Those who seek their lives lose them. Those who refuse to give away their money walk away sad. The one who gives away his money rejoices. Those who sacrifice their dignity receive recognition.

Which brings us to today’s text: A short tax collector climbs a sycamore tree to see Jesus. But there is no way to receive the full meaning of the story without reading the chapter that comes before. There was a rich man in chapter 18. He asked Jesus what must I do to inherit eternal life. Jesus told him to give away his riches and he went away sad, for he was rich.

In a HUGE contrast, we stumble onto the story of Zacchaues, the short tax collector who climbs the sycamore tree. He doesn’t even ask Jesus what he must DO to inherit eternal life. It seems to be nothing but his encounter with Jesus that inspires him to give away his wealth.

There is a system in our world. It screams, “There is not enough for everyone, so we must hoard what we have.” If you have ever watched the show "Hoarders" you know what damage this idea can bring when taken to its extreme. Have you ever tried to pry someone’s hand open? I remember trying to get little dangerous choke hazard-like objects out of my toddler’s hands. Their little fingers can hold tight. It takes some skill to pry without hurting, doesn’t it?

Then there is the system called the Kingdom of God. This system screams, “There is enough for everyone, so share what we have.” The fingers do not need to be pried, because when one embraces this system, the wealth comes flying out the door.

There are two ways you can open a soda can. One is without shaking and one is with shaking. Without shaking you get a calm, cool drink. With shaking you get an explosion that cannot be predicted. Jesus shook up the soda can of Zaccheaus life. And when it was opened, there was no end of the spraying of joy to the entire community.

Let Jesus shake you up. Embrace the Kingdom of Abundance, let go the Kingdom of Scarcity. Enter into the Kingdom of God where the short become tall and the rich become poor.