So here’s a little background on me.
My name is James, I’m a worship leader, creative director, and terrible golfer. I like creativity, music, and imaginative things.
I’ve been leading worship for about six years now, and doing the others for less time.
So you could say that thinking of new things is my career and passion.
Not too long ago I went through a season where I was all about new things. The newest design, the newest sound in music, the newest look. I remember always watching what the other churches were doing, whether local or not (What is Hillsong/Elevation/Life Church/Fellowship Church doing?). I became consumed with that, with being current, being fresh and creative, and a part of me is still like that, because I believe that improvement is something that we should always strive for. But I had lost myself in that and because of that I became frustrated in the limitations that surrounded me. Whether it was because of financial reasons, or even not sounding like singers that I counted as inspirations, the things that made me who I am became a hindrance in my eyes.
It reminds me of the story of Zacchaeus and Jesus in the city of Jericho.
If you haven’t read it, you should. It’s a great story. It can be found in Luke 19:1-10.
Basically, Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector, which means he collected taxes from the Jewish people on behalf of Rome. This usually wouldn’t have been an issue, but Zacchaeus was himself Jewish and his salary was paid by whatever was left over, so he and the other tax collectors would just make up numbers and pocket the difference.
So Zacchaeus was an outsider to his own people, a thief and a bit of a thug.
Here’s the thing about me; when I read any story I imagine the characters in ways that I can relate to. So in my mind, Zacchaeus had the attitude of Kanye and the voice of Rick Ross. He was the Notorious Z-A-C. (For older people reading this, ignore that part.) I believe that Zacchaeus was someone who liked the limelight, who bragged about his racks on racks on racks (again, ignore) and didn’t mind being hated, as long as he was feared as well.
So one day, he hears that a man named Jesus is coming to town, and people were saying that he was the messiah. Zacchaeus must have been stoked. I’m sure he would have heard the stories of a eventual messiah, because remember, he was Jewish. But I doubt that was what he was excited about. In my mind he was excited because he could see someone important, and possibly get the chance to have a meet and greet with someone who was known more than he himself was.
So Zacchaeus hiked up his Gucci brand robe, grabbed his Flava Flav clock necklace and ran down to the town square to see this man named Jesus.
This next part is interesting to me, and brings my point to a head. It says Zacchaeus was short, and he could not see Jesus, so he climbed a tree to see him. Being a staggering 5’6 myself, this got my attention. I feel your pain Z-man. Us short guys have to stick together.
Some scholars think that Zacchaeus may have been a little person and suffered from dwarfism, which really paints the kind of guy Zacchaeus had to be to become chief tax collector. He must have been ruthless to be intimidating enough to steal from his own people and be taken seriously, especially in Biblical times.
So he climbed a tree to see Jesus, the King of Kings and savior of humanity. The amount of people there must have been crazy. The excitement in the air was no doubt infectious. Once he was up there he saw Jesus, and Jesus saw him. Long story short, Jesus came to Zacchaeus’s house and Zacchaeus completely changed his life around from one encounter with the Christ.
The part of this story that speaks to me is Zacchaeus climbing the tree. A grown man was willing to climb a tree, risking embarrassment to see Jesus. He didn’t let his disability stop him. He didn’t let how he was created become an excuse. He embraced who he was and how he was created to build an empire around him, which led him to Christ. Zacchaeus wasn’t a priest. He wasn’t a dedicated church goer. He was a crook who must have worked hard for his infinity pool and Lamborghini. But one encounter with God and he gave it all away.
Zacchaeus didn’t have a great singing voice. He didn’t have the ability to paint a masterpiece. But he had money, and after meeting Jesus, the generous spirit to give it away and give it back to those he stole from.
God gives each one of us a unique voice. No matter where you came from, or what you’ve done, God can use you to show Jesus to others. It’s okay to be different, it’s okay to do something different than what others are doing, and it’s okay to be who you were created to be.
by: James Floyd