I heard someone referred to as a real Zacchaeus-type recently. I wasn’t sure of the exact significance of this comparison at the time, but given the context, I was sure it didn’t have to do with height or tree-climbing abilities.
I did find out—and I think we should all add the term to our theological dictionaries.
Zacchaeus-type: A person who will eagerly follow you to the ends of the earth if you recognize the value in them.
Zacchaeus was a wealthy man, but apparently he didn’t feel like a particularly valuable person. Tax collectors certainly weren’t popular in his day. I really don’t know if a short stature was a count against a person in that culture. I guess if you were a tax collector already, horizontal challenges might at least be one more excuse for people to despise you.
At any rate, all Jesus had to do was notice the guy. Jesus made Zacchaeus feel important and valued by inviting himself over for dinner! And what was Zacchaeus’ response?
Luke 19:8 (NIV)
8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
He was ready to change his lifestyle and his value system. He was sold!
I wonder how many Zacchaeuses might be in my life? How many people within my reach would would eagerly follow me (as I follow Christ), if I would just take the time to show them that I recognize their worth?