And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.”
It’s easy to read the account of Zacchaeus and dismiss it as merely a cute story that makes for great children’s church or Sunday school material. However, this is a shallow way to view any scripture passage in the Bible. In fact, if you want to learn how to make a memorable and positive influence in someone’s life, the account of Jesus’ encounter with Zacchaeus is vital and foundational instruction. Jesus teaches exactly how to interact with someone who is seeking more of God.
The first and arguably most important thing that Jesus did was call Zacchaeus by name. The very first word spoken by the Son of God to this man who was in need of an encounter with the Lord was his own name. The most beautiful sound that will ever come out of your mouth to someone else is the sound of their name being spoken. Jesus could have addressed him in a myriad of different ways, or not addressed him at all. Jesus, was more concerned with being personal than being proper. Proper can be taught over time but without being personal, a relationship will never advance past its initial encounter. The important point to note in this scenario isn’t how or why Jesus knew Zacchaeus’ name but that He used Zacchaeus’ name. When you say someone’s name, especially in front of others, you model honor. What you are in essence saying to that person is that they are valuable and worthy of being remembered. To honor someone or something means that you place value upon them. Jesus was telling Zacchaeus that he held great value in the eyes of God.
As a believer, you are the representation of Jesus to the world. Those you live and work with will shape what they think about Him based upon how you treat them. When you show others that they are worthy of honor by doing something as simple as calling them by name, they will receive it as though the Lord Himself is honoring them. He has a desire to know them personally and He needs you to show them that. Who will you draw nearer to Him through showing honor today? You can start by calling them by name. It really is that simple. – Love and Blessings, Pastor Jeff