His appearance tells you that he is very well to do. He is neatly dressed with hair combed back smartly. The way he walks brings about an aura of confidence, which makes people want to take a second look at him whenever he is on the streets. He is a gentleman when relating to ladies. And he is always ready to help neighbors who are in need. After getting to know him better, you realize he is the pride of the family. His parents speak so highly of his piety towards them. His friends praise his truthfulness and honesty. And he is the spokesperson for his community in their fight against crime. But one day, he went home, full of despair. Without greeting anyone along the streets, he kept repeating to himself “It’s too difficult, it’s too difficult!”
Sitting alone quickly finishing up his meal, the second man seems to always be in a rush. Off again to another house to settle some unfinished business and unsettled accounts. As he paces through the busy streets, he would go unnoticed for his diminutive size, but because of his reputation in the village, the busy streets break apart like the Red Sea, and all heads go low as if to avoid eye contact. Once in a while, recognizing familiar faces, he would bark his warnings to them. As rich as he can be, you hardly find him around any friends. But one day, he went home, filled with joy. Greeting everyone along the streets, he kept repeating aloud, “It’s so easy! It’s so easy!”
This is my version of the rich young man (Matt 19:16-22) and Zacchaeus (Lk 19:1-10). Both were wealthy and both had the opportunity to meet Jesus. But only Zacchaeus managed to see the true value of Christ. Both knew that Christ can provide them with the water of life and if they receive Jesus Christ, they may never thirst again. But the rich young man valued himself above Christ. He is overly concerned about what he has done and must do. He is like a thirsty man spending time to build a golden vessel worthy to hold the water before he allows himself to drink of the water. In the end the rich young man went away sad, to him it was just too difficult.
Not so for Zacchaeus, because he knows the value of Christ above himself, he can readily accept Christ and live for Him. Zacchaeus is like a thirsty man, who thinks firstly of the quality of the water and knows full well of the quality and value of the life giving water. That was the reason why he willingly gave up his riches in return for the friendship of Christ. In the end he went away joyful, in full assurance that his soul will thirst no longer.
My dear friends, have you tasted and seen the goodness of Christ? May we learn to treasure the value of Christ in our lives. Because it is only when we value Christ, will we be able to find true meaning in life. And having a renewed purpose for living, we can willingly let go of what we hold on to, and let God satisfy us completely.
Brother Samuel Lim