Today’s sermon by Rev. Steve Hundley
at Madison Valley Presbyterian Church in Ennis, MT
was based on the story of Zacchaeus.
Do you know the story?
If not (or even if you do),
here it is in a nutshell:
(When you click on that link
and hear the story creatively told
in delightful, child-like cartoon format,
be sure to click the back arrow and return here!)
Pretend you are short (I don’t have to pretend).
Pretend your name is Zacchaeus and you are hated.
You are hated because you are a lying, cheating tax collector.
You are lonely.
Then you learn that Jesus is coming to your town.
You’ve heard about Him – and you want to see Him.
But, to do so, to see above the crowd, you have to climb a tree.
Pretend you are up in that tree … looking down at Jesus.
Get in the mood for today’s message!
There is a growing epidemic
Of loneliness in society today.
Surprisingly, the loneliest are young adults.
Next are empty-nesters, they say.
A third group are the elderly
Who are often seen sitting alone.
Checking an empty mailbox,
They nurse their ailments and groan.
People out there in our world are lonely.
Often it’s for a reason they can’t control.
Other times, it seems to be choices they make –
Like Zacchaeus, who chose his greedy, tax-collecting role.
Loneliness affects all kinds of folks, good and bad.
We cannot overcome loneliness by ourselves.
It takes the love and compassion of someone else
Who notices our empty emotional shelves.
If you are struggling with loneliness,
And you have come to church to heal it,
Look around and know the love of Christ
Is in the hearts of those around you. Can you feel it?
Zacchaeus climbed a tree so he could see Jesus.
This lonely, short, little man wanted a view
Of the man he had heard so much about.
Would you climb a tree to see Christ? In faith, will you?
Be ready – if you are lonely and you look
For God and love by goin’ somewhere strange.
Be ready – because God will find you there.
He’ll find you where you are; and you will change!
Have a beautiful Sunday afternoon.