Faith, Hope and Charity

If anyone doubts the power of desire, please suggest that they read the story of Zacchaeus in the Gospel of Luke.

Zacchaeus was a tax collector. Not just any tax collector, he was a Chief Tax Collector. Hired by the hated Romans to collect the hated taxes, he would often extort even more money from his fellow Jews to line his own pockets.

He was used by the Romans, and rejected by the Jews of Jericho. He wouldn’t be welcome in any house in the city.

Here comes Jesus, walking through the town. He has no plans to stop, he's just passing through. Suddenly, he decides to stay. Why? Because Jesus knew this small-statured tax collector wanted to meet him.

Zacchaeus wanted to see him so badly, that he’d do anything to make that happen.

So the Chief Tax Collector of Jericho climbs a tree like a ten year old, trying to see the Miracle Worker. His desire has given birth to the faith that he will see the Messiah.

Jesus rewards this faith with a call. He tells Zacchaeus to come down from his lofty place in the trees. He also tells him that he is going to stay at his house.

In the face of this man’s desire and faith, Jesus is moved to change his plans. Isn’t that amazing? Just one person’s desire to know him compels him to stay. And not just in the town somewhere, but at his house.

What a comfort this is to anyone who wants a closer relationship to Christ. Zacchaus proves that having the desire and the faith to deepen a connection with the Lord, will result in Christ coming to you. Not only coming, but staying.

Our tax collector responds to Jesus’ invitation by coming down from the tree to face him. Can’t you just see the hope in his face? Knowing that everyone in the town rejects him, will the Famous Teacher really honor him by being his guest? His hope does not disappoint. Jesus is coming to his house.

Standing in the presence of the Lord, his faith and hope fulfilled, Zacchaeus explodes in a joyful burst of charity. “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone, I shall repay it four times over.”

Wow. Now that’s transformation.

If Jesus can change his heart that miraculously, what will he do in you and me? Armed with our faith and hope, the love and grace of God will inspire us to do amazing works of charity. Powerful things. Four times more than we could ever imagine.

If we climb in faith, and answer the call in hope, we will be inspired to selfless charity. Just as Jesus encountered a Chief Tax Collector and radically changed his life, he will come to me and to you. Get ready for a big change.

We will never be the same.

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