The morning after (the finance update).

Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way

When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.

Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.

Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”

Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”

––Luke 19:1-10

That passage is a part of our reading in session 2 of Disciples Path this week, which follows it up with this thought…

Because Jesus had become central, Zacchaeus’ treatment of people and money were now taking their cues from Jesus. As Christians, we approach every area of our lives with the intent of aligning them to Jesus. 

So good, and hopefully, true. While reading through this week’s chapter, I was impressed by how much it zeroed in on the topic of money. Impressed on the one hand, because I’m not used to hearing the issue spoken to so unapologetically, and impressed on the other, because of it’s relevance to my week.

Yesterday evening we met together with the leadership of our sponsoring congregation, Morrow Gospel, to review our church finances. It was a time of laughter and encouragement, and a time that left me smiling at the hardy can-do spirit of these senior disciples of Jesus. But it was also a bit sobering… a bit of a reality-check.

As for the details of that reality, I’ll be sharing those in our 4pm service on February 5. What I’d like to right now, however, is to hand the mic back to Chapter 2 of Disciples Path…

In the story of Zacchaeus, Jesus never commanded him to repay those he’d stolen from or give to the poor. Zacchaeus made that decision on his own… What do you think motivated Zacchaeus to these actions? What did Jesus’ actions communicate to Zacchaeus about his identity? 

Is there a moment in your life—a failure, success, etc.—that you have allowed to define you until now? For Christians, the defining moments are Jesus’ death for us on the cross and His resurrection. Because of these moments, we find our identity in Him.

What are you doing to make Jesus more central in your life in the areas of…

…relationships?

…finances?

…time/schedule?

…sex?

Ooops, give me that mic back; things are getting too personal, like last week’s sermon, Mongol Devotion. But then, as C.S. Lewis once paraphrased our Lord… 

“Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked—the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.”

See you all this week, for our 3pm prayer time back on Disciples Path, and our 4pm time of worship and teaching.

With you for Jesus,

Pastor Daren

p.s. In other news, our very own Brennan Cattani has been voted in by Ness Baptist Church as their brand new Associate Pastor—a development which is the culmination of years of study and preparation on Brennan’s part. (Yes I do hate them for taking him from us, and am already planning a lifelong vendetta.)

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