When we hear the phrase “out on a limb”, it’s usually associated with someone taking a risk that others aren’t willing to take. Playing it safe is not usually in these people’s DNA. We all probably know someone like that. When everybody else is certain that “whoever” is going to win the ballgame, these folks will say something like, “I’m going to go out on a limb here and pick the other team”. These people are just risk takers. Maybe you’re that person. You definitely march to the beat of your own drummer. I’m a little of both. Some things I play it totally safe with and other situations I’m completely out of the box. It always depends on the risk factor to decide which camp I’m in.
There’s a story in the Bible that I find intriguing. This guy literally went out on a limb and it paid off! “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.’” (Luke 19:1-5 NLT)
The thing to note about Zacchaeus was that he was a tax collector and very rich. These people were not always known for getting wealthy honestly. They played around with the money people actually owed and tacked on extra for themselves. But on hearing Jesus was headed to a place near him, Zacchaeus wanted to check Him out. Surely he had heard about Jesus and what was going on surrounding Him. Obviously, something in his heart longed for the possibility of a different way of life. He was willing to go down to a crowd of people where he really wasn’t welcomed and hope for a “what if?” moment. This took courage. Jesus instinctively knew someone in the crowd that day had a longing heart. This person was out on a limb spiritually not just literally and Jesus was connected to that longing. Zacchaeus was like a magnet for Jesus. After Zacchaeus repented and showed true enthusiasm for the things of God, Jesus replied “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 19:9-10 NLT)
This is the beauty of The Gospel. God truly deals with the heart of man. He knows where each one of us are on our journey of life. He will never turn away from a “want to”. Zacchaeus wanted Jesus. He had the money, but it couldn’t fill the void looming in a human heart. I’m not sure that even he knew that Jesus was exactly what he wanted. He just knew there was a very deep chasm that he was on the wrong side of. Jesus knew his name! He made this introduction very personal. Jesus knows your name. He knows my name! He knows where we are! He’s in tune with us even when we don’t give Him the time of day. His very purpose in life was to “seek and save that which was lost”. He doesn’t just find us and leave us. All of His promises throughout the Bible become ours to lay claim to. We have hope in this fallen world! We no longer have just ourselves to rely on. We have One watching and guiding us through everything we will ever face. That’s comforting to me. Heaven becomes our final destination but until we get there, Jesus is with us every step of the way.
Sometimes in life, we long for things to be different. Sometimes we, like Zacchaeus, have to get out of our comfort zone and do things differently to get different results. I don’t know exactly what all transpired between Zacchaeus and Jesus, but according to Scripture, I know his life was changed. His new life started that day. It was good. It was less weighty. “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT) Zacchaeus had a new meaning to life. Good things were ahead. God was his and he belonged to God! Life was now clearly seen and it was going to be different. It all started because he took a chance and went out on a limb.
Today’s writer is Brandi Crowe. A hairdresser for over 25 years, she is currently the owner of Brandi Crowe salon in Buford, GA. She loves hiking, a good cup of coffee, and spending time with family and friends. Brandi lives in a custom farmhouse with her husband Robby and cat Harold.