Sing with me now: Zacheaus 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. We all know the song, and we all know the story of Zacheaus climbing that tree. How often we forget about the tree. It’s not a great song without his journey up that tree. We often think about the crowds, Zacheaus, and Jesus, but we hardly ever think about the tree. I’m reminded each week I work in ministry that what people seek is a viewpoint so very different from our own. Without the tree, their quest is impossible—and this song is not as much fun to sing. We are the tree. Too often we think of ourselves as Jesus in the story and the world around us as the crowd blocking people’s view of Jesus; but if we think about it, we are really the tree. We are all called to be trees. Those who haven’t heard Jesus’ words, those who aren’t a part of the church, they are longing to climb a tree so that their viewpoint may change. Many are at the bottom and are trying to look up and over the crowd that continues to block their view. Our job is to help lift people above the crowd to see the approaching Savior, not to be the crowd that blocks them. So often our churches become so cluttered that many people are simply busy doing church instead of being the church. Our challenge is to be guided by the sycamore metaphor. Not as a formula for success or steps to a healthy ministry, but as a way to understand the role —our roles—in the kingdom.
(based on thoughts from Pastor Otto)