Zacchaeus lived in the city of Jericho. He was a tax collector. He took money from poor people and gave it to the city leaders. This job made him rich and so people didn’t like him.
One day Zacchaeus heard that Jesus was coming to Jericho. Zacchaeus hurried to the place where Jesus would pass by. There was a big crowd of people already waiting for Jesus when Zacchaeus arrived, but he was short so Zacchaeus knew he wouldn’t be able to see Jesus. Zacchaeus spied a tall sycamore tree nearby. He climbed up, up, up. Now, from his perch in the tree, he would be able to see Jesus!
When Jesus came along, Jesus saw the crowd of people and he saw Zacchaeus. “Zacchaeus!” Jesus called. “Come down from that tree right away. I want to stay at your house today.”
This made the people in the crowd upset. Why should Jesus spend time with a man like Zacchaeus, they wondered? The people thought Zacchaeus was a bad man.
Zacchaeus was happy to welcome Jesus to his home. “This is my plan. I give half of my riches to help the poor,” Zacchaeus told Jesus. “And if I take money that isn’t mine, I will pay it back with four times more.”
Jesus liked this. “You are a child of God,” Jesus told Zacchaeus. “Your plan is a way to live that will please God. And the reason I live is to help people like you become their best selves.”
Dear God, Help me to be fair in all I say and do. Amen.