Summary: Learn how the church should treat people with respect, dignity and as special in God’s eyes.
Have you ever listened to the words of the song that is used at the beginning of the “Cheers” television show? “Wouldn’t you like to go to a place where everyone knows your name and they are always glad you came.” Those words should be the them song of the church. A church should be a place where everybody feels like somebody. Jesus made people feel like somebody. We find a good example of this in the story of Zacchaeus as recorded in Luke 19:1-10. What did Jesus do in order to make Zacchaeus feel special? Notice three actions Jesus displayed. We should also display these actions.
1. Jesus was Aware of Zacchaeus. What do I mean when I say, he was aware? Notice what had happened. Everybody shunned Zacchaeus. In verse 3 we are told that Zacchaeus could not see because of the crowd. He was a short man and a despised man. He was a tax collector. People of their day despised tax collectors because they were traitors. They were Jewish people who collected taxes for the Romans. Jesus was aware of the pain in Zacchaeus life. Nobody took the time to be his friend. Jesus was not that way.
A. He was aware of Zacchaeus needs. Zacchaeus was lonely, rejected and alone. Jesus knew that and he did something about it. We often see the surface and no deeper. People have psychological, physical, emotional and spiritual needs. By being attentive to people’s overall needs you will open the door to their spiritual needs. In being Zacchaeus friend Jesus was able to be his savior.
B.As a church we had better be aware of people and their needs. The world certainly notices them. Take children as an example.
Illustration: From 1993 to 1996, advertising in kid-specific media grew more than 50%, $1.5 billion according to Competitive Media Reporting.
(Contributed to Sermon Central by Sermon Central Pro)
The world knows what it takes to attract kids, adult and those who are seeking answers. The church needs to be aware because the world is aware of them and seeks to reach them.
2. Jesus Adjusted his activities for Zacchaeus. Notice verse 1. “Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through.” He never intended to spend time in Jericho. However, Jesus adjusted His busy schedule to spend time with this little man. Ministry is about us adjusting our activities to meet the people to whom we are ministering.
- When you go fishing, do you fish with bait you prefer, or, do you fish with bait the fish prefer?
- When you go deer hunting, do you rub the strongest cologne on your body or do you eliminate (as much as possible) all scents?
- When I come to church on Sunday I park at the back of the lot. Why, I want to give guests and Senior adults the best spots available. I adjust my activities.
- Churches that adjust grow; churches that do not adjust die.
How did Jesus adjust his activities for Zacchaeus?
A. He gave His time? You cannot serve Jesus Christ without giving of your time.
B. Jesus gave His time but He also gave himself. The greatest ministry tool available is the giving of ourselves.
Illustration: A recent e-mail asked readers to reflect on the following questions: 1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world. 2. Name the last five heisman trophy winners. 3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest. 4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize. 5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress. 6. Name the last 10 World Series winners. Then as we sit and realize that we don’t know the answers to these questions, another set of questions are asked: 1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school. 2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time. 3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile. 4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special. 5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with. 6. Name six heroes whose stories have inspired you. The point of the e-mail is this: “The people who make a difference in your lives are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.”
(Contributed to Sermon Central by Jim Kane)
3. Jesus gave Zacchaeus assurance. What do I mean, he gave Zacchaeus assurance?
A. Jesus assured Zacchaeus that he was special and that God loved Him. By spending time with Zacchaeus Jesus was assuring him of God’s love.
B. Jesus assured Zacchaeus that he could be saved. All people, religious and non-religious are looking to find assurance of salvation.