Devotional for Friday, July 17
A few weeks ago we held our first ever Livestream VBS. On one hand, I was thrilled we could still offer something for the kids but on the other hand, I was so bummed. Bummed that our sanctuary wouldn’t be filled with hundreds of kids laughing at skits, cheering when their side of the sanctuary brought in the most pennies or hearing their sweet voices worship Jesus in the most contagious way. Oh and let us not forget the whip cream pie to the face! Okay, maybe I wasn’t too bummed about missing cleaning whip cream out of my ears and nose! The hours of planning and prep work are worth every second when you experience kids uninhibited in worship. In those moments I find myself asking, “how do they get it so easily?” You know what I’m talking about when I say “it”: the feeling of it’s just me and my Jesus right now and nothing else is going to get in the way.
Our goofy VBS characters shared the story of Zacchaeus. They acted the story out on stage to teach kids that a connection with Jesus changes you. In that moment nothing stood in the way of Zacchaeus connecting with Jesus. Not a crowd he couldn’t see over, not even the ridicule of the crowd or the shame of his bad choices. It was just Zacchaeus and Jesus and in that moment he got “it”, Zacchaeus was a changed man. I get a little sad when I stop and think about all the stuff we as adults(myself included) allow to stand in the way of our connection with Jesus. Stuff that ultimately interferes with the work Jesus has planned for us. Stuff that could potentially change our attitude towards others or lend itself to miss an opportunity to follow the Spirit’s leading.
Paul encourages us in Philippians 1:6: “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” What a relief that Jesus is continually working in us. Left to myself I know I wouldn’t do well, but I’m sure all the interference I allow doesn’t help either. I don’t ever want to derail the work Jesus has planned for my life but I will keep putting up roadblocks if I’m not willing to lay down all my stuff and focus solely on Him. Zacchaeus was a sinner loved by God just as you and I are. Knowing Jesus changed Zacchaeus but first he had to open his heart and allow Jesus to work in Him. The change was beautiful. Will you join me in asking God what stuff in our life keeps us from an uninhibited connection with Him?