Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; hewas a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short, he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today." So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
All the people saw this and began to mutter, "He has gone to be the guest of a sinner."
But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount."
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 the lost." Luke 19:1-10
Being a wee little man myself, I identify with my proportionally incorrect buddy Zacchaeus. I've come to grips with being short, even during those moments when I have to use a stool to get something off the top shelf. You'll also never see me lose my temper in a bagel shop due to being teased about my height (google if you don't get the reference).
It doesn't matter if you're tall as a grain of rice like me or always in the back for group photos, we've all felt the sting of being overlooked. In a sea of people, we wonder if anyone notices us. We often feel underappreciated and neglected. We convince ourselves that the story we're telling with our lives is insignificant. We catch ourselves thinking that if we weren't on the planet tomorrow, would it matter to anyone else?
What I need to hear today, what you need to understand today, what we all need to recognize today is that God sees us individually. You're not another face in the crowd to Jesus. Just like Jesus looked up towards a tree to see Zacchaeus, He sees you.
You're not an inconvenience or a mistake. Nor are you irrelevant. It's quite the opposite. He made you with a purpose far grander than you can ever hope for, imagine, or draw up in your mind.
God stopped everything He was doing and turned His attention to Zacchaeus. At that moment surrounded by folks waiting on His every word, what mattered to Jesus was a private conversation that needed to take place - a divine appointment with someone the culture despised and disregarded. And because of that encounter, the trajectory of Zacchaeus's life changed forever.
Not only does God see you, but He has something He wants to say to you. God understands what you're going through - the shame, the struggle, the fear, the doubt. He listens to your prayers and sees your circumstances. God's here to have a conversation with you today. Will you get off your branch and join Him?
What conversation needs to take place between Jesus and you? Why have you been avoiding this subject?
God, You see me - all of my mistakes, all of my doubts, and all of my struggles. In spite of this reality, You love me and cover me in grace. You don't want me to ignore what's on my heart and hide it from You. You invite me to have a conversation. And today I will. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.