Change is Possible
Our son, G, is growing. It seems that every time I turn around, he is taller. The way our stairway is built, there is ceiling at the bottom. Steve, who is 6'4", knows, habitually, to duck when he comes down the stairs. Every once and a while, he will hit his head, but not very often. This morning, G was running down the stairs behind me as we were getting ready to leave the house. I heard a groan, turned around, and found him sitting on the stairs, holding his head in his hands. Apparently, he hit his head on the ceiling as he came down the stairs. He's taller, and he's never had to duck before. Looks like he's going to have to change his habit.
Last night in class we talked about the passage in Matthew 13:24-30 and 36-43 about the wheat and the weeds (or thistles, in the Message). It is a parable which compares the Kingdom of God to wheat seed that a farmer has planted. The wheat grows, but along with it, weeds or thistles sprout up. We talked about what that means, and how it defines the kingdom. One question arose which the parable doesn't really address -- can a thistle become wheat? Can there be a transformation of the very nature of the plant so that, even though it sprouted as a weed, it can, through grace, become wheat? Our conclusion was that, if we were talking about people and not plants, then, yes, transformation is possible.
A case in point.
The Lenten devotion that was sent out today from our church was about Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10). In addition, the sermon at our Common Grounds service tonight will be a first person monologue from the tree-dweller, himself. It's a good story. Take just a few moments to read it again.
Then Jesus entered and walked through Jericho. There was a man there, his name Zacchaeus, the head tax man and quite rich. He wanted desperately to see Jesus, but the crowd was in his way—he was a short man and couldn't see over the crowd. So he ran on ahead and climbed up in a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus when he came by.Zacchaeus had been a thistle. He met Jesus, and was transformed into wheat. Change, even though it is not always comfortable, and at times is even hard to fathom, can happen. Transformation is possible. Even from thistles to wheat. Even from tax collectors to faithful disciple. Even from a small boy to a gangly teenager to eventually a man.
When Jesus got to the tree, he looked up and said, "Zacchaeus, hurry down. Today is my day to be a guest in your home." Zacchaeus scrambled out of the tree, hardly believing his good luck, delighted to take Jesus home with him. Everyone who saw the incident was indignant and grumped, "What business does he have getting cozy with this crook?"
Zacchaeus just stood there, a little stunned. He stammered apologetically, "Master, I give away half my income to the poor—and if I'm caught cheating, I pay four times the damages."
Jesus said, "Today is salvation day in this home! Here he is: Zacchaeus, son of Abraham! For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost."
Even from who I am to who God created me to become.