• Mike Dominick

Being Mindful

Zacchaeus was a wee, little man and a wee little man was he

He climbed up in a Sycamore tree for the Lord he wanted to see

And as the Savior passed that way He looked up in the tree

And He said, "Zacchaeus, you come down!

For I'm going to your house today."

That children's song tells the story of a flesh-and-blood man in the Bible. Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus for himself. But he was a short man, and couldn't see over the people standing between him and Jesus. So he climbed a tree to see the Savior pass by.

But Jesus didn't pass by. He saw Zacchaeus. He stopped. He called Zacchaeus by name. And He invited himself to dinner at Zacchaeus' house.

Perhaps Zacchaeus had been secretly listening to Jesus teach. Perhaps the Holy Spirit supernaturally spoke to his heart. Somehow in that moment Zacchaeus knew a deep truth. He knew that being with Jesus meant his life had to change. So he made a public pledge on the spot:

"Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

(Luke 19:8 NIV)

And this is what Jesus said in response to Zacchaeus' pledge:

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

(Luke 19:9-10 NIV)

When the people looked at Zacchaeus, they only saw a despised tax collector - a collaborator with the Romans who cheated his own people and extorted money from them for his own profit. But when Jesus looked at Zacchaeus, he saw a son of Abraham. Jesus was mindful of who Zacchaeus really was, and of who he could become.

To love like Jesus loves means seeing people with Jesus' eyes. It means being mindful of both the fallen nature that corrupts every one of us and the image of God that remains in spite of the brokenness. Mindfulness means giving grace to people with messy, broken lives, rather than writing them off because of outward impressions.

When the server at the restaurant is distracted, or makes a mistake, or says something a little sharp or rude, a far-too-common reaction is to be offended, and perhaps get rude in response. But seeing the server with Jesus' eyes changes things. Perhaps he has just been unfairly chewed out by his manager. Perhaps she has a mom with a serious illness and she can't be there to help because she has children of her own to feed. Perhaps she needs a little compassion. Perhaps he could use a kind, encouraging word.

When we have received compassion and forgiveness from Jesus Christ, it's only a short step forward in our discipleship to begin to offer compassion and forgiveness to others. And that begins with being mindful of who they are and what their needs might be. Like Jesus saw Zacchaeus up in the tree. And like Jesus, we can love them with God's love, which is being sown in our lives to bear the fruit of the Spirit.

A good prayer for us to pray is to ask the Holy Spirit to help us see people with Jesus' eyes, and to be mindful of them. Starting there, the Spirit can move us to the kindness of words and actions that loves them like Jesus does. And don't we all agree the world could use more of that kind of compassion and love?

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