Zacchaeus was a wee little man,
And a wee little man was he,
He climbed up in a sycamore tree
For the Lord he wanted to see
And as the Savior passed that way
He looked up in the tree,
And he said,
“Zacchaeus, come down from there,
For I’m going to your house today,
For I’m going to your house today.”
And Zacchaeus came down from that tree,
And he said, “What a better man I’ll be.
I’ll give my money to the poor.
What a better man I’ll be.
What a better man I’ll be!”
I was planning on pasting the Luke 19 story of Zacchaeus into the intro of this post when I involuntarily began to hum the old Sunday School song you read above. As I examine the lyrics to the memorable melody, I’m struck by how simply, how succinctly, how perfectly it conveys the soul-transforming themes of grace and conviction, themes preachers and biblical commentators could spend hours illuminating…themes whose illuminations Sunday School kids and easily distracted bloggers could certainly sleep through. So, because I’m fond of Twitter and catchy children’s ditties, I will proceed to post about Zacchaeus’s face to face encounter with grace as a social media junkie/simple-minded Bible-lover; I apologize if this makes any erudite theologians or M. Div. students out there cringe ;-).
I have taken the liberty of deeming Zacchaeus as “the First Human Tweeter” because he did indeed send out a tweet…to Jesus, two-thousand years ago.
Zacchaeus was a rich chief tax collector whose wealth was extorted from his fellow Jews on behalf of occupying Rome. Suffice it to say, he was not a popular man. Jesus, a popular man at the time of this story, called Zacchaeus out of the sycamore tree, and frankly, Zacchaeus was giddy about it. In my imagination, he’s like a hungry baby bird eagerly flapping his new weak wings as he watches his mother fly towards him, delicious worm wriggling in her beak.
It is clear to Zacchaeus’s spirit that Jesus holds the life-giving nourishment he so desperately craves, and he can’t help but tweet his “wee little” heart out when the Bread of Life invites Himself over for dinner. The despised little bird flies down from his perch and tells Jesus he’s going to donate half of his income to the poor and repay at a fourfold rate what he owes anyone he’s robbed or cheated. Jesus announces that the day was one of “salvation” for Zacchaeus. He had been convicted of his crooked, immoral ways and made aware of his inextricable, soul-deep need to repent from his sins and accept Jesus as his Savior.
On Twitter, you can a.) Send a tweet yourself in an effort to start a conversation with others, b.) Retweet something someone else has said because you want to share it with others c.) Favorite what someone else has said because you appreciate it or found it helpful, or d.) Reply to someone’s direct tweet to you.
What is most striking to me about this story is who tweeted first, if you will; if Zacchaeus and Jesus had been in the Twitterverse and not on a road in Jericho, Jesus would have been the initial tweeter, and Zacchaeus, the replier.
Zacchaeus didn’t have to go on an Eat. Pray. Love.-like trek around the globe in search of spirituality and “truth.” On the contrary, Truth came searching for him. Jesus proclaimed His mission to Zacchaeus and those gathered around them: “to seek and to save the lost.” And all Zacchaeus had to do was make a sincere choice either to accept Jesus’ dinner invitation, or decline it (Luke 19:10).
In Revelation 3:20, Jesus is recorded by John as saying:
“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.”
Many of you reading are already believers and followers of Jesus Christ. We have already “tweeted” our positive reply to His extravagant, blood-stained dinner invitation, and our salvation is assured. But even so, I wonder how many times we ignore the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit calling up to us in our trees that sway and shake with nest-fulls of distractions, branches bending with rotten, fear-laden fruit. You’ve probably heard it stated that Jesus didn’t die to found a religion, but to start a relationship with each and every one of us. A relationship may begin with a lavish, seven-course dinner, but it must be nurtured every day lest it wither and starve to death.
Ironically, given this post’s title, social media tools like Twitter and Facebook often distract us from vital one-on-one time with the Lord. The chime of a text message, the buzzing notification of a new Facebook message, Instagram shout-out or Retweet fill our minds with noise when what our spirits pine for is sacred silence.
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. –Psalm 62:5
The story of Zacchaeus has reminded me that as wonderful as it is to be able to correspond with thousands of people simultaneously, the greatest interaction any of us can have is with an audience of One. The best news is, we have His ear all the time…
Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath! –Psalm 116:2