When my girls were little, they learned about my husband and my expectation of obedience. When asked to do something, I would say, “Do it right away, all the way, and with a happy heart.” I don’t know where that phrase originated, but it reminded them to obey quickly, make more than a half effort, and complete the task without complaint.
It reminds me of a Bible story. As mentioned in Luke 19, Zacchaeus was one of Jericho’s chief tax collectors. You’ve probably sung the song and remember the motions showing he was a wee little man who climbed a tree.
Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus so desperately that he risked life, limb, and reputation to get a better view, then waited for Christ to pass by. I’m not sure why seeing Jesus was essential to Zacchaeus, but he was willing to do something drastic and beyond expectation. I wonder if Zacchaeus’ guilt of being a lowdown, dirty-rotten, money-hungry (you get the picture) tax collector was the reason?
Maybe he had heard talk of Jesus and understood, or at least hoped, Jesus could help him. Somehow, I don’t see a well-dressed man in a tree being inconspicuous, but either Zacchaeus was an overconfident man who didn’t care what people thought, or he desperately wanted what Jesus offered.
I’m leaning toward the latter.
Zacchaeus did whatever it took to see Jesus. We don’t have a record of what occurred in the man’s life before his interaction with the Christ, but when Jesus called to him, Zacchaeus obeyed. He climbed down quickly and, in front of the multitude of people, willingly offered half of all he owed to the poor without prompting. He also promised to make things right with anyone he’d ever cheated. I’d call that a happy and changed heart.
Would that have been my response?
It’s a good reality check for me. When God speaks to me, how do I respond? I certainly hope it isn’t like the crowd who grumbled because Jesus chose a tax collector to stay with, but I’m afraid it’s more frequent than I care to admit. What about when a friend asks for help? Do I extend to them acceptance like Christ? How willing am I to provide for their needs or correct a wrong?
I pray I will be like Jesus and extend—what some call—the right hand of fellowship (Galatians 2:9).
It certainly is something to ponder today.
While you consider how you might obey Christ right away, all the way, and with a happy heart, get your copy of The Title Wave by Chautona Havig. The main characters in this contemporary fiction find themselves able to test not only their friendship but what they will do to help meet a need.
You’re in for a treat if you haven’t read Chautona’s work. Like the author, Chautona’s characters are full of life and quick wit and grounded in faith.
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