Week 28 Sunday

Little of Stature

Today’s scripture selection: Luke 19-20

Key Verses: Luke 19:3

     I’ve always like the little story about Zacchaeus – no pun intended.

     I like the fact that a hated outcast is one with whom Jesus dines.  I like the fact that someone like that is given a fresh start in life.  I like the fact that he uses this God-given opportunity to give back to the people from whom he stole so much.  And, I like the fact that Zacchaeus was short – a “wee little man” – as the children’s song says.

     Why is that part of the story important?

     Because Luke does such a nice job of using it to drive home the point of the story.

     Zacchaeus is short, so he has to go to some trouble to get a glimpse of Jesus as he comes down the road.  He has to climb a tree – to get into position to see the Lord – over the pressing crowd.  It’s implied that the crowd was pressing out Zacchaeus not just because he was physically small, but because he was “morally” small as well.  He was hated; a sinner – what right did a man like that have to get close to the Lord?  That was the thinking.

     Zacchaeus persisted – and it paid off.

     But it wasn’t the fact that he climbed a tree that impressed the Lord.  I have a hunch Jesus knew the little despised tax collector was there even before he came into view.

     No, Jesus dined with a sinner that night, because of what was in the grieving sinner’s heart.  That’s what drew the two together.  I can only imagine what their conversation that evening was like.

     There’s a great lesson there for us.

     When we feel the need; when we have the passion for communing with God – He will be there.  But for the conversation to really be all it can be there can be no games; nothing hidden between us.  Honesty; humility; openness; love – that’s what it takes to grow close to God.  Or, as the scripture puts it,

     “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”

     Zacchaeus knew all about that.  You and I can know it too.

No matter how “little of stature” we are.

Prayer: Lord, open my mind and my heart to you.  Expose my spiritual smallness, so that you can build me up as you would.  AMEN.


By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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