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November 03, 2016

Ep.943: Is Your Heart Looking for Jesus? The Story of Zacchaeus

Unclocking the door to accepting true joy in your life

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What kind of vulnerability can bring us to a joyful state of mind?

There you are, a grown man sitting in a tree - awkward!

What action do you take in the face of public criticism?

Zaccheus promises to do what's right - how does Jesus respond?

Theme Scripture: Luke 19:5-6

People want to be happy. They think about it, they talk about it and they do things to find happiness. The United States Declaration of Independence speaks of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Yes, we all want to be happy, but have you ever thought about joy? Have you ever heard of people wanting and pursuing it in their lives? Happiness and joy have several similarities in that they are both elusive and often fleeting. But there is something profoundly special about joy. You see, it is deeper than happiness. It can become a state of mind that unequivocally transforms you. Here is the catch – if you go looking for it, you are actually pushing it further away from you.  So, how do we find joy, or more clearly stated, how do we let joy find us and change us in our everyday experiences?

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An example

Let me give you a quick example of the difference between happiness and joy. My grandson, Domenic, just turned nine the day of this podcast, so Trish and I went to our daughter’s house for dinner to celebrate. Once we finished the formality of eating dinner, Domenic became ever more excited as the time for cake, candles and gifts approached. He was genuinely happy and the emotion poured out of him. His eleven-month old sister, Autumn, joined in with his happiness in a way that only an infant can. As I watched his unbridled actions and expressions I looked over at our daughter Amy as she watched her two children interact with their dad. What I saw in her face was bigger than happiness. I saw joy. I saw that deep and satisfying state of mind that absorbs appreciates and is transformed by an open-hearted embracing of a significant experience - in this case it was the experience of raising two precious children. Her joy was much more than the joy of that particular moment; it was the joy of the precarious journey of parenthood.


Finding such joy is difficult, for it cannot be summoned simply because we want it. This is why we talked about Zacchaeus in our podcast. You remember Zacchaeus. He was the short guy in Jericho who climbed a tree so he could get a glimpse of Jesus as he walked by. Jesus unexpectedly saw him and opened up a life of joy for him that he could have never anticipated. So, what did Zacchaeus do to be in position to receive such joy? He allowed himself to be vulnerable, and to be the recipient of ridicule and gossip. He even allowed his own weaknesses to be put on display. Like I said, he allowed himself to be vulnerable.

It turns out that we cannot find life-changing joy unless we are willing to navigate the unsettling waters of vulnerability. Now, I understand that even thinking about "navigating through vulnerability" is uncomfortable. This is why you need to check out our November 7, 2016 podcast, “Is Your Heart Looking for Jesus?” It walks you through identifying and taking some steps to joy and it also gives you tools to use along the way. Check it out!  What you find might prove to be priceless!


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