Tag Archives: pride

Pride? Or Jesus?

When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”
Luke 19:5, NLT*

As a child in church, I learned the song about Zacchaeus [say za-KEE-us] being “a wee, little man” who climbed a tree so he could see Jesus over the crowds. I didn’t think too much about who he was as a person. (Luke tells his story in Luke 19:1-10.)

Zacchaeus was the chief tax collector, an occupation that brought great wealth and greater condemnation from his fellow Jews. It made him a Roman collaborator, one in a position to cheat his own people.

So… he was rich but hated. All Zacchaeus had was his wealth, power and prestige. I’d expect a man like that to take his dignity most seriously. Everyone around would want to cut him down, so wouldn’t he project an indestructible image?

Yet he’s so desperate to see Jesus in this vignette that he forgets appearances, runs ahead of the procession, and climbs a tree to get one glimpse of Him. Is he up the tree to hide? Or is Jesus’ route so crowded with citizens that the branches are a short man’s only option?

I don’t know how tax collectors dressed in those days, but I picture an extravagantly-clad little man dashing through the crowded street and scuttling up the tree.

His dignity is forgotten in the desire – the need – to see Jesus. In proof of that, when Jesus calls him out of the tree, Zacchaeus takes Him home “in great excitement and joy.” (Luke 19:6, NLT*) There’s no blustering or posturing from wounded pride.

Instead, imagine Zacchaeus’ happiness. Cut off from his people, only dining with those his money can impress, suddenly he’s offered the chance to host this famous miracle-worker and teacher – and Jesus is accepting him, not condemning.

Zacchaeus throws away his self-made status to meet Jesus. What do we cling to that keeps us from fully entering into relationship with Jesus? Is it worth the cost? [You can click to tweet that.]

God our Maker, it matters how we respond to Jesus. Thank You that He makes a way for each one of us to know Him. Help us to give our all for the privilege of living in Your presence – not letting anything hold us back.

I think the David Crowder Band song, “Undignified,” refers to Israel’s King dancing before the Lord in 2 Samuel 6:12-23, but it could as easily be Zacchaeus’ theme song. Could it be mine? Yours?

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Haughty Eyes

There are six things the LORD hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
a false witness who pours out lies
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.
Proverbs 6:16-19, NIV*

Most of these are self-explanatory, but the first one makes me stop and think.

Haughty eyes? The Message translation calls them arrogant.

  • Looking down on others?
  • Critical or judgmental opinions of them based on appearance and behaviour?
  • An elevated perspective of oneself?
  • How about considering what we perceive, our take on the circumstances, as the truth? As more accurate or enlightened than anyone else’s?

Most of us can be tempted by the first three, although we try our best not to live that way. The fourth one strikes closer to home for me. It’s the opposite of a verse I’m trying to learn to apply:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV*

It comes so naturally. But the New Testament says we’re to walk by faith, not by sight.

LORD, please help us remember that our sight is limited and even faulty. Help us remember to choose to trust Your way instead of going our own way. Because of Jesus, Amen.

Let this week’s song be our prayer: “Open the Eyes of My Heart” by Paul Baloche. I had the privilege of seeing him and Robin Mark in concert recently and it was wonderful… and worshipful.

*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.