The Tax Collector in the Tree


I don’t know about you, but I’m rather short. I’m no stranger to standing on my tip-toes, and having to watch entire movies leaning to the side to see around someone in front of me at the movie theatre. The top shelves of anything in my house is considered long-term storage.

I’ve always sympathized with Zacchaeus. The thought of a short, older man jumping up behind lines of people; trying to peer between legs and eventually climbing a tree always makes me snicker. I don’t know about you, but it’s been years since I’ve climbed a tree; only in my 30’s it’s still quite an amusing site to see. I can only imagine how ridiculous Zacchaeus looked and I can only imagine how happy it made Jesus to him; that old man wanting so badly to see him that he was willing to look so so silly.

Zacchaeus wasn’t just trying to get the Lord’s attention either. This was not some empty attempt to increase his street cred with the other tax collectors in Jericho or to get an autograph. Zacchaeus was on a mission. Somehow and somewhere this man’s heart had be changed; an earth shattering change. There, after being plucked from the crowd doing whatever he could just to get a glimpse at Jesus, he laid out all his shortcomings and all his wrongs literally at the feet of his salvation. He knew that he had hoarded too much and taken unjustly and he was prepared to do anything to make it right.

To Zacchaeus, that little, despised tax collector Jesus promised him a spot among the elite; claiming him as a descendant of Abraham all the promises God himself guaranteed.

I think sometimes we get worried about making a scene. Do you stop yourself from including mention of God or the Bible in conversation because you don’t want to be “that religious person”? Do you overlook praying before a meal in restaurant so as not to draw attention or relegate your religious art or books to a backroom? Do you justify another week without confession because you don’t want to draw attention to your faith and your faults, even when you’re already in a church? I know I’ve been guilty of this so many times and I’m still trying.

God wants us to be ridiculous for our faith. He wants us, as He says so many time, to have the faith of children—that joyous, raucous joy with no limits. He wants us to scale trees just to glimpse at Him and yet we’re still afraid to sit in the front row of church!

Today, be ridiculous for God. Read your religious books on the bus and in the lunch room. Wear your cross and medals. Dig out your veils, your rosaries, and your icons. Say grace in the restaurant. Find the tree that gives you a better glimpse at God and climb it with abandon.

. . . and for goodness’ sake will someone sit in the front pew this week?

Molly Walter is a wife, mother and homemaker (with a pesky job outside the home).  She writes at Molly Makes Do about making the life she wants with the life she’s been given. You can find out more about her here.

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