“We’ve talked a bit about the fellow named Zaccheus and his tree-climbing adventure,” Stan began.”
“We have,” I responded. “He climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus; and he hurried down from the tree when Jesus told him to do so.” [Note to reader: See Postings Numbered 469, “Climbing Sycamore Trees” and 473, “Hurry On Down”.]
“You’re right,” Stan replied. “And there is another part about the story that is real important for me and my relationship with God.”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“In Luke’s account of what Jesus did and said,” Stan replied, “there is no indication that Jesus asked anyone about who Zaccheus was. Jesus did not say, ‘Who is that and why is he in the tree?’”
Continuing, he said, “It is clear to me that Jesus knew before He ever got there who Zaccheus was, as well as why he had climbed the tree. He knew him by name. That’s real assuring to me. Jesus called Zaccheus by name, just as I was called and just as I am continually being called by my name.”
“Called by name?” I replied. “You really think so?”
“I not only think that,” Stan replied, “I know that. There was a point in my life when I was clearly called by God to want to know Him. We’ve talked about that before, when I chose to draw near to God and He responded by drawing near to me.”
“You’re right, “I said, “we have talked about that. James 4:8.”
“Exactly,” Stan said. “God called me by name in the first instance. Not only that, I know that there is a continual calling. As I am open to hear, the Holy Spirit continually says, in effect, ‘Stan, come here. I have something I want to tell you, or something I want you to see’.”
“Just as Jesus called personally to Zaccheus to spend time with Him,” Stan concluded, “He calls to me through the indwelling Holy Spirit to spend time with Him. It’s up to me to choose to respond to His calling. If I do, I benefit. If I don’t, I just remain in the tree. What a waste!”
And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” Luke 19:5.
But now, thus says the Lord, your creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel, do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine! Isaiah 43:1
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you know me by name. Thank you for calling me by name so that I chose to draw close to you and to have you respond by drawing close to me. Thank you, too, that you continually call me by name, wanting me to draw near so I can see, claim, receive, and embrace all you have for me. I confess that too often I do not hear your calling because I am too focused on what I want to do apart from you. Please forgive me. And please, Father, help me in following your lead in hearing and responding to your voice when you call me by name. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Things to think (and journal) about:
1. What is your biggest take-away from this devotional?
2. What does this devotional say about God and about us as His people?
3. What is God saying to you to do personally?
4. Who can you share this with to make a difference?
Comments, questions, suggestions, and the like can be addressed to The Storyteller at: firstname.lastname@example.org.