An attorney once told me, “Do you know what I’d really like to be? A gym teacher.” Chalk up one more for the “golden handcuffs,” the allurements in life—income, status or power, for instance—that entice us away from what we really want to do, be or become. More sinister are the temptations that, perhaps one small step at a time, coax us away from what we know to be right and down a deceptive path to disillusionment and despair. We awake one day in a place seemingly far away from God and with no apparent way back to Him, but this too is temptation—temptation to doubt God’s seeking love and His saving power. For God knows our proclivity to stray from His ways, and yet in great love He draws us back to Himself, where we find a new and refreshing life of purpose. “God’s Kingdom is near!” proclaimed Jesus as He traveled from town to town, “Turn from your sins and act on this glorious news!”1 It remains today the promise of redemption and freedom and an invitation to change course.
Today’s post is our second look at transformation through the life of Zacchaeus, and standing tall amid all we learn from him in 10 short Biblical verses is this: The change to which God calls us is not an obligation we endure, it is the opportunity we desire. “Look, Lord!” exclaimed the liberated tax collector, “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.”2 His was not the “have to” humiliation of penance, but the “get to” enthusiasm of release. Behind him lay the discarded handcuffs he once thought golden, and before him “the unsearchable riches of Christ.”3
Most of us don’t need to be convinced of our wrong turns in life or the directions in which they’ve sent us; we are well acquainted with them and have lived to regret them. What we all need to realize is that God calls us, saves us and then leads us for a lifetime through the change we seek—change for good on His paths of joy.
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11 ESV)
Father, it is a privilege to know your love; it is a relief to know your redemption; it is an honor to walk your paths. Send your Spirit to lead me in your ways and use me for your glory. In Christ I pray. Amen.
1 Mark 1:15 TLB
2 Luke 19:8
3 Ephesians 3:8