By Lisa Huddleston
“When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, because today I must stay at your house.’ So he quickly came down and welcomed Him joyfully.” (Luke 19:5-6)
We were really enjoying the day. My older son was visiting us with his girlfriend, my daughter and her fiancé were with all of us for church, and Chuck and I were celebrating the joy of being able to worship and enjoy a meal with the four of them. It really was a good morning. With full tummies and spirits, we pulled into Home Depot to let Chuck run in to pick up a couple of things before heading home. While we waited, John, Sarah’s fiancé, decided to check his email. In seconds he said, “Look at this!”, and handed his phone to Sarah and then to me. It contained a message from Billy Block, a Nashville DJ, inviting them to be on his live show that evening at the world famous Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge. The whole car erupted in squeals! What a huge surprise! What an unexpected honor!
It took some scrambling, but it really happened. That evening John, Sarah, and the drummer of Sleepy Eyed Fox, Stephen, were interviewed live on WKDF—and then one of their songs played for all of Nashville to hear. Wow! What a day!
I imagine that Zacchaeus must have felt a little like my kids did. Yes, he expected to see Jesus. And yes, like my kids who had mailed a CD to Billy Block, Zacchaeus had done what he could to improve his odds. But, also like the kids, Zacchaeus probably thought he was the last person in the world that Jesus would single out as his host for that evening. I bet he was stunned! He may have even let out a little squeal or two of delight before catching himself. Then he welcomed Jesus with joy! What an unexpected honor!
Every time I read this story, I put myself in Zacchaeus’ place. Would I have responded with the same joy Zacchaeus displayed? Or would I have started to worry? Are there clean sheets on the guest bed? Do I have anything to prepare for dinner? Will he bring this whole crowd with him? Maybe some of you can relate. Now, perhaps Zacchaeus had a staff to worry about these things—he was a rich, rich man—but it still would have made me a little nervous.
I saw a little of myself in my daughter Sunday as she fretted just a bit over what to wear on the radio. (Hey. I get that.) And then they couldn’t get a hold of Mr. Block to find out what time to be there. Next, who was going to go? Chad and Heather needed to get back to East Tennessee, Nick was out of town to play some music in South Carolina, but John, Sarah, and Stephen were free and more than willing to go. After an hour or so, they had it all pulled together, and it went without a hitch. They said yes, and it was an awesome experience for us all.
That night I had some time to ponder the day’s events. I recalled times in my life when unexpected opportunities had occurred and how I had responded to the moments. Often my immediate excitement was quickly followed by fear and trembling over my capabilities. But I was thrilled to see that, like Zacchaeus, Sleepy Eyed Fox was up for the job, and they didn’t revert to insecurity or doubt their ability to see it through.
Zacchaeus welcomed his opportunity joyfully. Sleepy Eyed Fox welcomed their opportunity joyfully. How will I welcome the next opportunity that comes to me? Am I putting myself in position to serve where God wants me to serve? Am I willing to go out on a limb by letting someone know that I’m available? Am I open to the unexpected? It worked for Zacchaeus, and it worked for SEF. Maybe it could even work for me—who knows what the day will bring?