When people realize that they’ve fallen short and don’t have an answer for it, they try to compensate with something. Zacchaeus tried to compensate for his lack of height by climbing up into a fig tree. The tree in today’s passage is significant. It represents the things people seek refuge in when something traumatic takes place in their life. People by nature are constantly seeking to make up for the “shortness” in their lives. Stress pursues the ‘tree’ of pills for their anxiety. Loneliness and the lie that “No One Understands” turns to the ‘tree’ of alcohol. A sense of desperation can develop a dependency on the ‘tree’ of drugs. While rejection indulges in the ‘tree’ of extra or alternative relationships. The list of shortcomings and their compensations is endless.
Like with Zacchaeus, Jesus recognizes that trees are peoples’ cries for help. He isn’t seeking to punish them for climbing up the tree, He’s gently and lovingly calling them down. He sees them as valuable and worthy of His attention and affection. Zacchaeus, climbed the tree because He was seeking. All he knew about Jesus was what he had heard in the rumor mill so he, out of desperation, did everything he could to get a glimpse of the Savior.
When life comes at you with difficulties and you feel inadequate to handle them, is your first response to climb a tree? While Jesus is patient and loving, His desire for you is to stop trying to compensate for your shortcomings and start seeking Him personally. Even though you may have been ‘saved’ for quite some time, the temptation to try and personally compensate for the areas you fall short in will always be there. Stay close to the One who is more than enough and you’ll never want to go tree climbing again. – Love and Blessings, Pastor Jeff