Saturday, October 25, 2008

Climbing Trees

"So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way."
Luke 19:4

Do you remember singing the "Zacchaeus" song in Sunday School? I even recall all the actions. The climbing motions. Shielding my eyes from the sun as Zacchaeus looked for The Son. I think I always liked that story because Zacchaeus was small in statue, and at only 5'2", I'm not exactly tall either.

However, Zacchaeus didn't allow his physical limitations to fortify him with excuses or keep him from seeing Jesus. He went tree climbing. When walking or standing won't do, climbing becomes a necessity.

After reading this story a few days ago, my mind began to question what lengths I would go to to see Jesus.

I've read of individuals who have literally 'camped out' days before tickets become available for some concert or special event, or when an item comes on sale at a Department Store. Others will wait for hours behind roped lines to catch a glimpse of a favourite Hollywood Star who passes through their town on a movie shoot. What about a parade? Do you go early to get a front row, curb side seat? I remember going early to the train station one morning to have a first-hand glance of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip as their train slowed down on it's journey through a neighbouring town. My Mom had dressed my sister and I in England's colours and we were waving the Union Jack flag. I'm sure the Queen looked right at us. I can still feel the anticipation and joy of that moment.

So, the question that is stirring my soul asks, what lengths will I go to in my pursuit of Christ? Will I wait hours in silence for Him to speak to me? Will I set the alarm earlier so that I can sit in His presence while the house is quiet, before anyone else awakens? Will I turn off the television to be in His Word? Will I pass on an invitation to go out if I haven't first gone away to a secluded spot with Him first? Will I plan and prepare supper a little earlier on Sunday evenings so my family and I can be back at church in time for the evening service at 6pm? What 'tree' do I need to climb?

Then, once I see Him, may I obey like Zacchaeus. God's Word says that Zacchaeus quickly climbed down. He wasted no time. His response to the call was immediate. I don't just want a brief encounter with Christ in passing, my view contained from a tree limb. After seeing Him I want to be walking by His side.

Jesus is well acquainted with trees. Christ climbed a hill to a tree. A tree that forever changed eternity. A tree that we don't ever have to climb. He carried the weight of the world on His shoulders the day He was nailed to that tree. If He sacrificed His life for me, surely I can do whatever it takes to see Him and meet with Him every day. No excuses. Good intentions aren't enough.

Lord, I pray that You will increase my longing for You. Just like the crowds threatened Zacchaeus's view, my life can be so full that it threatens to crowd You out of my view. Give me strength to climb whatever tree is necessary to see You. May I not be satisfied with 'general admission seating', but may I be found at Your feet, in Your presence, my eyes fixed on You.

Put on your hiking boots, and let's climb some trees today!


22 comments:

Sheryl said...

Thanks for sharing....your post really spoke to me.

Beth said...

I love this, Joy!!

Yolanda said...

A few short days ago, as we were driving to a National Forest spot on Maui, we saw several Sycamore tree's. I was raised Catholic while my husband was raised Methodist. The interesting thing is....Bill knows that song and as we were driving he starts singing about Zacchaeus. I love when he does that, he so paid attention, while I did not. And honestly, I never even heard that song until I married my Man. But the point I'm trying to get to, is those Sycamore trees look pretty wicked and I would want some hiking boots. There are no Sycamore trees in our neighborhood! ;-)

I can't imagine going quickly up or down that type of a tree. Zacchaeus was truly on a mission! I've missed you!

Love,
Yolanda

Runner Mom said...

Ooh...you are convicting me, sister!! I do need to climb some sycamore trees myself!

And... I remember the song and motions!! I even taught them again when I taught K5 Sunday School for years!Thanks so much for this reminder...especially when I want to hit the snooze on my alarm clock.

Love you!
Susan

Julie Gillies said...

Hey, Joy - I'm only 5'2" also!

As a kid I adored tree-climing. In fact, I have a vivid memory of climing a neighbor's tree so high that I could see above the roof of their house.

I'm not so much of a risk-taker these days, but I would definitely climb a tree for Jesus. LOL

Amy L Brooke said...

Oh, Joy. This is so good. You should submit it to P31 for a devotion or something.

I loved this:Jesus is well acquainted with trees. Christ climbed a hill to a tree. A tree that forever changed eternity. A tree that we don't ever have to climb. He carried the weight of the world on His shoulders the day He was nailed to that tree. If He sacrificed His life for me, surely I can do whatever it takes to see Him and meet with Him every day. No excuses. Good intentions aren't enough.

Too bad I've only ever been able to climb a tree with a ladder. But I think I have some friends to give me a boost up.

Sita said...

Joy, thank you for popping by and leaving sweet and encouraging words. Funny, you should post this. I was just thinking after writing that post that when you are gloriously 'in love', there is nothing that keeps you from keeping that 'date'. I am praying that God renews my heart and love for Him so that again, there will be nothing that keeps me from keeping our 'dates'.
Thank you, Joy...you should add another name..Sweet Spirit..

hkudla said...

Oh Joy,
As a girl (even into high school) I loved climbing trees. I had a tree in my backyard that was "my" tree. I was in that things all seasons of the year.

Thank you for the reminder of climbing trees and doing what is necessary to see Jesus, and then climbing down and doing what is necessary to stay with Him.

Powerful stuff...
And thanks for the comments on my post. I haven't had the chance to follow your links because I just got back from my parents in Milwaukee, and then had to run to choir practice tonight... now I am off to bed...

Hopefully I will have time tomorrow!
God bless my dear friend, and thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement!
I love you,
Heather

Tracie Miles said...

Wonderful post! And thank you for being such a regular visitor to my blog - I am always encouraged by your comments. Take care!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I am so thankful for a Father who says, "come", and then lovingly walks the road with me. We can take him everywhere and "pause" at any moment to feel his presence within.

I am willing to walk the rest of my days with Jesus. No other love has captured my heart so clearly.

peace~elaine

Cheri Bunch said...

Amen, Joy!

"I don't just want a brief encounter with Christ in passing, my view contained from a tree limb. After seeing Him I want to be walking by His side."

These words tapped right into the longing of my heart.

Thank you so much for stirring me and drawing me to a quiet place today!

Love you!!!!!
Cheri

God's girl said...

Very beautiful. Now to go ponder my own obstacles that keep me from seeing Jesus more. Blessings!

Marilyn in Mississippi said...

This post really pricked my heart Joy. I know that it speaks to places in my life where I DON'T go to great lengths to seek God in my life as I should! Thanks for pointing that out to me!

Marilyn

Cindy said...

This is such a wonderful post Joy, as always.
Thank you for taking us to the tree and helping us see more clearly.
Cindy

Grace said...

Hi Joy!

Thanks for stopping by! Yes, I was blown away also... and I didn't want to change the post but the prices are actually $30 - $50...

Even sadder...

Blessings today, my friend!

Zoe said...

Hey Joy,

Hope you and yours are well. It's always a treat to read your posts on my blog!! You my dear are a big dose of sunshine in a tiny package.
Zoe

Luanne said...

Yes--I want to put on my hiking boots--or maybe my tree climbing shoes!!

Loved your post--thanks for the thoughts!

God bless!

Luanne

Joy in the Burbs... said...

I can always come to your blog and hear the truth of God's Word.

I grew up singing that song and feel sad that a lot of S.S.'s don't sing it much anymore.

I'll always think of what you wrote when I hear from now on.

Thank you,
Joy

Lynn Cowell said...

Joy,
It was a joy to sit for a minute and read your blog. I will have to admit, I have been doing a lot more "doing" as of late, rather than "climbing" to a quiet spot. Thank you for the reminder. I am missing the quiet....
Lynn

Jennifer said...

This is a wonderful post. What a blessing to encourage us in our walk with Christ.

Have a wonderful day!
http://jennifer-asag.blogspot.com/

Debbie said...

I loved this post and especially your prayer; increase my longing for you. May that be my prayer too. I don't want to crowd Him out because of my busyness with other things.

Carolee said...

Thanks for stopping in at my blog...glad I took the time to read this! Praise! Living on loving God and Jesus this season to quench seasonal stress...thank you for more to ponder and submit in prayer!
God Bless! Love, Carol