by KidMin Webteam/ June 20, 2023
Zacchaeus is one of my favorite stories. It’s one that you would’ve never expected the outcome or the immediate heart transformation.
Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector and hated by many because of his role. He collected taxes for the Romans—an enemy of his own people. Collecting taxes had made him wealthy, and most people in his life just thought of him as a sinner.
Jesus came to save people like Zacchaeus.
Nobody saw Zacchaeus the way Jesus did. Jesus looked at Zacchaeus with love and saw his worth. I can imagine many people saying Zaachaeus’s name with disgust because of all that he had done, but Jesus was very different than most people.
When Jesus said his name, I imagine it felt different. Zacchaeus heard his name out of the mouth of the Shepherd. [SD1] Jesus calls His sheep by name (John 10:3). Zacchaeus encountered Jesus, and it completely changed the way he thought about himself.
An amazing part of this story is that Jesus’ meeting with Zacchaeus happened on the way to Jerusalem—a trip that led Jesus to the Cross! But on that journey, He stopped and made time to connect with Zacchaeus! Zacchaeus climbed that sycamore tree in hopes of seeing Jesus. He did, but Jesus also saw him.
I needed somebody, too. As a kid between the ages of 3 to 18, I lived in a home where my father’s somebody was his addictions and his verbal abuse toward me. It wasn’t until somebody who loved Jesus stood in the gap for me and it changed everything. This somebody didn’t even know my story, but she saw me up in the tree crying out for help on the inside. She stopped. She spoke Jesus’ words over me. She showed me who Jesus is. For the first time, somebody saw me the way Jesus does, and it changed the way I thought about myself completely.
Everybody needs somebody and as Children’s leaders you have the amazing opportunity to
be the somebody because one leader can impact an entire generation.
The impact was huge for me. I was destined to follow in my father’s footsteps, I was so verbally beaten down with absolutely no hope. Even kids at school knew. I felt ashamed of my home life and accepted that it was my future.
If somebody hadn’t seen me in all my brokenness and wondering and called me out of that tree, my current identity wouldn’t be daughter of the King. I wouldn’t have ever even dreamed of becoming a Kids pastor.
But it was all because somebody showed up for me.
She didn’t wait.
As leaders, one of the biggest deceptions we face is thinking that somebody else is going to do it. Don’t believe it. Be the somebody this generation needs!
Be the somebody who prays.
Be the somebody who listens.
Be the somebody who loves.
Be the somebody who sees.
Be the somebody who shows up.
Be the somebody who calls that kid out of their tree.
Jesus wasn’t too busy to spend time with Zacchaeus, and Jesus was on His way to one of the most important events in human history. Are you?
Are we too busy on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights to stop and notice our Zacchaeus hanging out in the tree, waiting for you to see them? There is a kid somewhere stuck in a tree waiting for somebody! They’re the ones who interrupt our messages, the ones who break every rule, the ones who ask you a million questions, the ones who sit by themselves because their shame inside won’t let them connect. That was me.
Can you see them?
Every behavior has a purpose.
And every child needs to know somebody who cares.
Jesus stopped, called, and invited Zacchaeus to come down from that tree because He cared. Jesus stepped into his world, and Zacchaeus felt loved, seen, and heard, maybe for the first time.
Friends. hear me say this: Don’t be too busy to be someone’s somebody. When you become that somebody, then that kid often becomes someone else’s somebody, and the pattern can continue. We can create a culture that sees the importance of seeing and being somebody for someone else.
When I went back home, my encounter stayed with me. I’ll never forget a time my dad was giving me one of his harsh talks and the Lord placed His hands over my ears and completely shut off my hearing. I couldn’t hear a word my dad was saying. I could see his anger and rage, but I was in awe of Jesus. I couldn’t believe Jesus went home with me.
I knew from that moment that my life would be different. It was all because of somebody calling me out of my tree, seeing me, praying for me, and showing me the love of Jesus. I knew I was no longer alone in the battle in my home.
We have the best Somebody—Jesus. We need to show our kids that Jesus doesn’t just show up at church. He’s the kind of Somebody who goes home with you, too. He went home with Zacchaeus, and that event changed Zacchaeus’s life.
There are children desperately waiting for you! They are waiting for you to notice them and call them out of their tree. Jesus has given you everything you need to be that somebody.
Go be somebody. It’s worth it.
Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Luke 19:9–10, NIV
Book: Its personal