Let us take a look at Luke 19:1-10
"19 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”
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.”
9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”"
There are things we can draw from this part of the chapter.
There is something here to take from the story of Zacchaeus, himself a tax collector, that restitution has to be made, whether it's criminal, civil or other ways, some compensation or a lot has to be made, even if it's being punished for a crime accordingly or restoring a relationship. Sometimes however, it may not be possible to restore a broken relationship between two people or several, it may be too late, but it's worth giving a try.
This does vary from sin to sin, whether it be something "small" as lying or "big" as murder or sexual misconduct, so the conditions of repentance may be different, what needs doing to put the situation right? In Zacchaeus case, he extorted people, hence he was wealthy. Is it possible he may have miscalculated? Maybe. The point is whether it was carelessness, negligence or actual delibrate fraud, Zacchaeus sought to repair the damage that had been done by his endeavours.
Don't judge by apperances
Luke describes Zacchaeus to
use first and foremost as rich and also short. Why highlight such a
thing? Why would Luke bring this to the readers attention, as well as
mention he is a tax collector?I already mentioned his repentance above but the people in the context were quick to judge him and yet Zacchaeus offered not only to pay back all the people he defrauded, he also would be happy to give half of his possessions to the poor. It's possible the crowd themselves were not willing to give even a small amount of their possessions to the poor, yet this short tax collector went out of his way to pay his debt and also give to the poor simultaneously, how tremendous is that?
Despite this man's background, he came to Jesus and let him enter the house for a meal.
Worship of God and not money
Whether Zacchaeus was like the rich young ruler or not is disputable, we simply don't know his motive. Maybe he had a similiar attitude to the rich young ruler at a given point. Idolatry leads to immorality as David Pawson has stated so it could be (though not necesarily) that Zacchaeus' god was money and the way to aquire more money was to cheat others out of it.
Yet unlike the rich young ruler, Zacchaeus must have felt a conviction in his soul and when Jesus arrived, wanted to see who he was. See the article I wrote on the rich young ruler: http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/the-rich-young-ruler-follow-jesus-to-end.html
Perhaps after meeting Jesus, Zacchaeus turned from his idol, recognising his sins and giving money back to the poor and making restitution as mentioned above. Now he could have money but it was no longer his God anymore, God has now given Zacchaeus the means to restrain himself and not be greedy.
The Lordship of Christ
Jesus response not only highlights that Zacchaeus did what was right in his sight but also what our generosity and the fact our money, like everything else is owned by God and he has given it to us not to abuse but use for his glory. Having a hobby itself or going abroad is not wicked in and of itself, but really we should be asking "Do we need to go abroad?" or "Can't I save this hobby for later?". Money is not something given to us to spend on what we want all the time, we are stewards of that money and God will give us an account of what to do with that money. There's nothing wrong with vacation or a hobby but as stated before, they are not the highest calling. It's giving our time in the service to others and helping others less fortunate than we are. There is a talk by Matthew Swires-Hennessey which I recommend others listening to which you can find here: https://www.stpetersfarnborough.org.uk/Media/Player.aspx?media_id=198874&file_id=211750
How should we be doing in our lives, even if we are not in Zacchaeus' position. Are we willing to put God first, casting idols to the side and turning to him? Does something in your life merely need to be put into it's proper place or gotten rid of depending on what it is in question? How will we be empowered today to be a Son or Daughter of Abraham, the former which Jesus referred to Zacchaeus as? Let's look at our lives and see what needs to change.
If there is anymore to add Lord Willing, I shall do so at a later date.