Have you ever felt unqualified
or unworthy of something?
There have been more than several instances in my life where I felt unqualified or at least underqualified to do things that were asked of me. I thought to myself:
“Well, I don’t really have the experience like others, the skill-sets required to get the job done, or even the leadership traits necessary to do this effectively.”
What I found was that I was exactly right—I really didn’t have any of those things. But by the grace of God, He had always given me the strength to do the job that I needed to do. He always gave me the thoughts to think, words to say, and actions to do in order to go above and beyond the calling given to me.
When I think about my own sin, the picture is not so different. I still wonder:
What did God see in me to think
that I was worthy of being saved?
The thing is that there was nothing worthy in me; it was all because of Christ and His love for me.
We see a very similar story in Luke 19 through the life of Zacchaeus, where Christ reaches out to the most insignificant person through love because he was worth saving:
He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. | Luke 19:1-4
Zacchaeus comes from the name Zachariah, which means clean, holy, righteous, and pure in Hebrew.
But the irony of it was that Zacchaeus
was the chief of tax collectors.
Tax collectors in this time were considered the most crooked and deceptive people because they were employed by the Roman government to collect taxes for the nation which would in turn fund the ability to continue keeping nations like Israel under their control. On top of that, Zacchaeus was a Jew working for the Romans, so many Jewish people viewed him as a traitor to the country. Tax collectors would often collect more taxes than required from the people and make themselves wealthy at the people’s expense. Not only that, Zacchaeus was the chief of tax collectors, meaning that he had other tax collectors working for him and paying him dividends along with his own collection from the people. Tax collectors were often classified with sinners because of the business they were involved in. They were wealthy but not respected in society. So essentially Zacchaeus was supposed to be holy, righteous person, but due to his occupation he was considered the chief of sinners!
Not only that, Zacchaeus was short in stature, meaning he wasn’t very significant in society and wasn’t much to look at. People were constantly looking down to speak to him or totally overlooking him when going through a crowd. Due to his short stature, Zacchaeus climbs a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus.
Think about that for a second:
a grown man climbing a tree.
Our society isn’t that much different than that time. If you saw a grown person climbing a tree, you would think they were lacking sense or very childish. That is the stage that is set with Zacchaeus; he was an insignificant individual, the chief of sinners, and a public embarrassment. Zacchaeus was rich in a worldly sense but completely destitute in terms of eternity. It was a very humiliating condition to be in.
Thinking of ourselves, we were in that same condition, or worse. Adam was created as a clean, pure, unadulterated person at creation, but through his sin, sin entered the world and now we who were meant to be holy and righteous had become the greatest of sinners through our sin nature and rebellion against God. We had become the chief of sinners and were in desperate need of someone to save us!
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. | 1 Timothy 1:15-16
Next time, in Even The Little Things | Part 2, we will take a look at the response of Christ to Zacchaeus and what He saw in even the worst of sinners to have the desire to have a personal relationship with him.