How Far Would You Go to Get Noticed?

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 2 Samuel 23-24; Luke 19:1-27


19 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through town. A man there named Zacchaeus, a ruler among tax collectors, was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but, being a short man, he couldn’t because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed up a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When Jesus came to that spot, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down at once. I must stay in your home today.” So Zacchaeus came down at once, happy to welcome Jesus.

Everyone who saw this grumbled, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

Zacchaeus stopped and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my possessions to the poor. And if I have cheated anyone, I repay them four times as much.”

Jesus said to him, “Today, salvation has come to this household because he too is a son of Abraham. 10  The Human One came to seek and save the lost.” (Luke 19:1-10, Common English Bible).

Graduation season is upon us. Within the next 2-3 weeks, colleges will start graduating their seniors. Within a week or so after that, it will be time for high schools to do the same. That means, it is also time for the relatively new custom of decorating the tops of mortarboards.

When I graduated from high school back in the mid-1970s, I don’t remember anyone decorating a mortarboard. When I graduated from college almost two decades later, there were a few, but I really don’t remember many. When I graduated from seminary six years later it was noticeably more.

A few years ago I attended a college graduation and there was something crazy going on. Almost everyone had something on top of their flat square hat with the tassel hanging off.

I am told that decorating mortarboards started out as a way for parents and others attending graduation to be able to pick their graduate out of the crowd of people all wearing the same color.

It seems to me that these days if I wanted to find my graduate, I would tell them to leave the mortarboard just like they got it. There would be quite a few less to look at.

I don’t think Zacchaeus was necessarily trying to get noticed when he climbed up in the sycamore tree. He just wanted to see Jesus. The Scriptures say he was a short man. He was also, as a Roman tax-collector, a hated man (do you like your friendly neighborhood IRS agent?) that no one was going to go out of their way to help.

So, if one is short and can’t see over the crowd, what do you do? You find a way to make yourself taller. Man lifts and cherry pickers were still 20 or so centuries away from being invented so Zacchaeus had to find another way. Most of us don’t carry ladders in our pockets and even if Zac had a box with him, it still might not have made him tall enough to see Jesus over the crowd. So, being the observant guy he was, he sees the tree and climbs it. I’m not actually sure how he was able to do that with a robe on but, as the old saying goes, “when there is a will there is a way.”

Imagine shock for Zacchaeus and everyone else around him when Jesus stops the procession and tells good old Zac to get out of the tree and then invites himself over for dinner. Some might say it was rude on Jesus’ part but somehow I don’t think Zac is one of them.

How would you feel if all you were trying to do was get a look and then you got so much more? For Zacchaeus, it was enough to get him to turn his life around, to make a change, to see the harm he had caused others. It was enough to get Zac to repent.

So, how far would you go to get noticed by the Master?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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