Sunday, September 13, 2009
In the Tree and Out of the Box
I couldn't wait to teach my first child about the Bible. I took that verse seriously about training my daughter when we lied down, rose up, were on the way... and in the car.
One morning, I taxied about with my two year old in her car seat. I retold the story of Zacchaeus in the tree while craning my neck to see two pony tails bob up and down in the rear view mirror. For the third time and one time too many, I asked, "Now, why did Jesus tell Zacchaeus to come down from the tree?"
She never missed the answer before but apparently she had grown tired of this story. Maybe a new answer would end my repetitive questioning. With a deep sigh she said, "Because Jesus though it was his turn to play in the tree?"
Now that was a new version of the Zacchaeus story. My daughter was learning early to put God in a box. She knew about playing and trees and sharing. She knew nothing of tax collectors and stealing and saviors.
How often do we place God in a box -- limiting Him by our earthly understanding? We place on the God of the universe human characteristics because those are what we understand and know best.
We think God values others as we see them. WE believe his resources are as limited as ours. We think God is angered by what angers us. The trials that enter our life are seen as mistakes rather than stepping stones to grow in our faith. We believe our righteous acts impress God and perhaps make us His favorite. We believe God looks upon our outward appearance and status rather than our hearts.
"Who has known the mind of the Lord?" Romans 11:34 asks. God makes it clear when he tells us in Isaiah 55:8, "My thoughts are not your thoughts and my ways are not your ways!"
I now have 4 children and a son-in-law. The story telling era is behind us but now I pray for our family.
Lord, please give us hearts like yours. May we love the things you love and hate the things you hate. May we see people as you see them and place value on them as you do. Please open our eyes to see you in everything that we encounter and may we know that nothing is more than we can handle when we are hidden in you. Amen.
My daughter could not understand the Zaccheus story that day when she was two but she didn't need to worry. Assuredly, Jesus would have His turn in the tree and He would share -- with the whole world.
"For God raised up Jesus for us after we hung him on a tree." Acts 5:30.