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