Seeking, searching, and being wholly savable

Casting Away Stones – Ecclesiastes 3
Week 6 – Ecclesiastes 3:6

Day One: Seeking, searching, and being wholly savable
Day Two: Losing the lost, a prodigal season
Day Three: Keeping the younger version of myself
Day Four: Casting away, a lesson on change
Day Five: God of the waiting

Heart verse:
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Hebrews 4:16

Day 1 – Seeking, searching, and being wholly savable

Let's open to our Ecclesiastes passage first, so we are literally on the same page, Ecclesiastes 3:6 -
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;”

Today we're going to seek. :)

Zaccheus...he was a wee little man. I relate to Zaccheus, as only another short person can. People my whole life have been identifying for me that I am short. Thank you, keepers of all obvious things.

The Bible tells us Zaccheus was short, not to torture the poor man, but so that we can recognize just how badly he wanted to see Jesus. I have been there. Baptized as a small infant, I had the benefit of the Holy Spirit welling up in me since tininess. I was buried and risen with Christ in the waters. Like Zaccheus, I heard about Jesus. I heard He did miraculous things. I heard He cared. I heard He forgave. I am forever grateful to my parents, my pastors, and so many others in my life who walked me through the stories of Scripture and built and planted and tended my faith. I believed and do believe 100%. It isn't a belief problem.

But at some point in young adult life, I realized I believed in Jesus, but I wanted a closer look. I wrestled and climbed every tree I could find to see if God was walking down the road on the other side. Doubt for me as a prodigal, like so many others, wasn't about losing my faith or walking away. It was about wondering whether I was wholy lovable or even worth the effort. I knew Jesus gave me redemption, a free gift, but could He redeem my past? Could He redeem each sin? Could He redeem all the places where I had stolen, and pretended, and forfeited everything that I claimed to be dear?

I wonder if this is where Zaccheus was?

Read Luke 19:1-10 -
He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich.  And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him,“Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Jesus tells us a few really important things about Himself in this passage. And that's the business we are about – seeking Him.

#1 - “I must stay at your house today.”

Jesus wants to stay. He wants to stay with Zaccheus and He wants to stay with us. We are worth staying with. I don't have to question it, because He tells me it over and over again in Scripture. Read the following Scripture passages and highlight what in these passages reminds you that you are a worthy place for Jesus, not just to visit, but to stay.
Jeremiah 31:2-3
Thus says the Lord:
“The people who survived the sword
    found grace in the wilderness;
when Israel sought for rest,
     the Lord appeared to him from far away.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.

John 17:23
I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

1 John 3:1
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

2 Corinthians 4:6
For God, who said, Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Jesus wanted to stay with Zaccheus, not because he was perfect. Not because he had it all figured out. Zaccheus didn't even make any promises for rectifying his untoward indebtedness until after Jesus came to stay with him. Jesus loves Zaccheus, reaches out His hand, and tells him, “You are worth my time. Worth my energy. Let's figure this out together.”

#2 - “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.”

Ok, so Jesus didn't say it, but those around Him give us the pleasure of a small window into Jesus with their statement here, and Jesus saw it to be worthy of recording. God-breathed Scripture didn't leave it out.

He has gone...”

You can hear the gasping of the Saturday Night Live church lady. “Sinners??!!”
I have no patience for pointing and sin labeling. Jesus calls it like it is, but He doesn't heap on shame in the process.

In Matthew 5:46, Jesus tells us with His own words -
For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?”

What reward is in loving those without sin? Those who fulfill all our desires for us? Those who never sin against us? Jesus was talking hard stuff here. “Why wouldn't I eat with sinners?” is Jesus's response throughout Scripture. There is “reward” in giving to a relationship that isn't perfect. Where the people aren't just giving to you, but you are filling and giving as well. There will be heartache. Yes. There will be struggle. Yes, but there will be a life shared, and that, is infinitely better than fake perfection in relationship.
Jesus, himself, loves us in our sin. Don't mistake, he doesn't love sin. But He doesn't love me more as I confess. He loves me the same, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. We draw closer to Him in our confession and as we experience absolution, but chief of sinners though I be, He loved me in the beginning. He'll love me at the end. He loves me in the middle.

#3 - “The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.”

And here is the crux of the matter. This is how seeking works. Jesus- He seeks. Continually pursuing. Sending people and words into our life that guide us perpetually back to Him. He saves us as lost and condemned sinners. He saves us as we grow and learn throughout our life. He saves us in our darkest, and in our days full of light.

We seek Jesus because He loves us and that Spirit of Love rises up in us. We can also tamp it down. But when you read these stories of real people in Scripture, you begin to see and understand and rest in who Jesus is. You want to know Him more and more and more. You can't stop seeking Him. It's never enough Him.
Because He seeks us, we can be fully confident in ever seeking Him.

I'll leave you with this week's heart verse, Hebrews 4:16 -
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Approach the throne. Soak in the mercy. Seek some grace. Embrace the help.
He loves you. Keep seeking, sister. You are fully and wholly found.

Discussion questions:
Take a look at Luke 15. Which one of these “Lost” parables do you most relate to?
Read Luke 15:1 again – who was drawing near to Jesus? Highlight it. Over and over again in Scriptures, He invites people in to draw near.
Tell us about a Bible passage or a person in your life that made you want to know more about Jesus.

Labels: , ,