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Up a Tree Without a Paddle

web posted November 1, 2007

By Dr. Skip Myers

COLUMN – The cry of despair coming from our bathroom made me bolt from the chair and run to see what had happened.  Such screams in my household usually indicated the presence of a creepy crawly visitor of some type.  I am always expected to come and rescue my girls from the impending danger such intruders present.  This time I was pleasantly surprised to discover the scream had nothing to do with the need to play exterminator. 

My wife exited the bathroom laughing.  She then asked me how I could have let her go to church that morning looking like this.  Of course, let me remind all the husbands out there to be on the lookout for such loaded questions as these.  I immediately reassured her that I was unaware of the slightest flaw in her impeccable beauty.  In reply to my unwanted sarcasm, she directed my attention to her ears.  Then the heartbreaking tragedy was revealed, alas my wife had attended church that morning wearing two different earrings!  My immediate response was to brush this off but in doing so all I accomplished was to reinforce in her mind that she had gone unnoticed by the man she loved.  No one in her Sunday School class, the choir, or the congregation bothered to inform her of her fashion embarrassment. 

As I reflected on this encounter, I came to realize just how easy it is to look beyond people in our day and time.  Jesus had a great way of noticing people no matter where they were.  One day a rather small man named Zaccheus climbed a tree in order to catch a glimpse of Jesus as he passed through Jericho.  The Bible tells us in Luke 19:5, “When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him…”
Jesus looked up in a tree to see a man in need of a relationship with the God who loved him supremely.  The encounter between Jesus and Zaccheus that followed ended with the Lord telling him that, “Today salvation has come to this house…” 

How much do you notice people?  Maybe it is time we look beyond what someone is wearing or how they talk and ask the Lord to help us look into their lives and see their real need.  How did Jesus know to look in that tree?  He knew the need in that man’s life and His love would not allow the need for forgiveness and acceptance to remain unmet.  Remember, this man in the tree was a tax collector and therefore one of the most despised people of his day.  And yet, the only perfect man to ever walk this earth took the time to not only notice him but go and eat with him as well. 

Perhaps as believers, it is time for us to stop worrying about whether or not we would die for another person and ask ourselves if we are willing to even notice them.  Start looking up in the trees during your daily routine.  Those who are trying to get a glimpse of Jesus in your life are everywhere.  Some are even wearing two different earrings, different shoes, different clothes.  Open your eyes and let the Lord touch through your vision.

Come to church on Sunday.  It is a great place to sit in a pew (which is made from wood which comes from a tree) and catch a glimpse of Jesus and His unending love for you.  See you in church on Sunday.

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