Last Sunday at Up town we were looking at a guy who had lost all his dignity. His circumstances and life decisions had led him to a place he probably never explicitly chose. He had no standing in the community. He was little regarded! To top it all off (or not) he was extremely short! There seemed no hope for Zaccheus. He had become a collaborator with the occupying forces. He had collected their taxes and made a ‘good living’ at it. He had climbed the ladder of success but now he knew that it was leaning against the wrong wall!
Just then a buzz ran through the city. The blind man who sat outside town, one of the few men Zach felt he could look down on, had been miraculously healed, and restored. As crowds began to form to see this healer, perhaps Zach thought that there might be hope after all, even for him. He must see this Jesus as he passed by! He could neither elbow his way through the masses or see over their heads. Not to be denied he ran down the road and found a tree which over looked the street where Jesus would pass. Setting aside his last shreds of dignity he clamoured up the tree.
I am reminded at this point that while I often climbed trees as a boy that my mother would tell my sister not to climb after me while wearing a skirt. Zach clamoured up skirts and all! This was a most undignified act akin that of David dancing before the Lord.
The beauty of our Saviour is that though our coming may cost us our pride. Of ourselves we can not help ourselves. He bestows a newer and truer dignity!
He call Zach by name and together they head off to share a meal, the biblical picture of true fellowship. His lost standing was a thing of the past. He now had a place and he had a real rather than illusory dignity. This was a miracle on par with that of the blind man.
At our small gathering of folks at our initial Mending the Network we sang “They Will Know we Are Christians By Our Love” one verse says “we will guard each one’s dignity”. This is our vocation at Street Hope. We want to point people to a dignity is newer and truer than any of the indignities we either suffer or bring upon ourselves. Dignity is restored as we hear His voice and open the door. He “will come in and eat with us” and in doing so restore us to fellowship and dignity. This is a cause worth living for!