Luke 19:1-27 (NIV)
Zacchaeus the Tax Collector
1Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy.
When the tax collectors came to John the Baptist, asking how they could get right with God, he told them collect no more than what is appointed for you (Luke 3:13). If you were a tax collector and you were rich, you were a rogue.
3He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. 4So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
5When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”
Jesus was willing to reach out His hand in friendship to this man who was universally despised. In the flesh, we can reject outcasts; but Jesus never did.
As one commentator says, “His example is our pattern. A Christian church which does not imitate its Master in its frank and continual willingness to associate itself with the degraded and outcast has lost one of the truest signs of its being vitalized with the life of Christ.”
The early church was despised for its acceptance of outcasts (1 Corinthians 1:26-31), but the early Christians regarded this as something glorious, not shameful.
6So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
7All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.’ ”
8But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
Ezekiel 18:27 (NLT)
And if wicked people turn from their wickedness, obey the law, and do what is just and right, they will save their lives.
9Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
The Parable of the Ten Minas
11While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. 12He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. 13So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas.’Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’
This parable is different than the parable of the talents in Matthew 25. Here, ten servants are each given an equal amount of money, and a fair amount of money; a mina was worth a hundred days of work for a common laborer.
14“But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’
15“He was made king, however, and returned home.
The new king has two issues: What will the servants do with his money? and How to handle his hateful citizens? First he deals with his servants.
Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.
16“The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’
17” ‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’
18“The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’
19“His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’
20“Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. 21I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’
22“His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? 23Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’
24“Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’
25” ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’
26“He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away. 27But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.”
The main point of this parable is clear; the kingdom will be delayed, so we must concentrate on being faithful servants in the meantime. Our Master has gone away to a far country, and will one day return with His kingdom. In the meantime, we are commanded to do business with what He has given us until He returns.
Take My Life and Let It Be Consecrated
Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love;
Take my feet, and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice, and let me sing
Always, only, for my King;
Take my lips, and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold:
Not a mite would I withhold;
Take my intellect, and use
Ev’ry pow’r as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will, and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine;
Take my heart, it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store;
Take myself, and I will be,
Ever, only, all for Thee.
–Frances R. Havergal, 1874.
HERE is Don Moen and the hymn “I Surrender All,” written by J. W. Van DeVenter.
The song has in interesting story. From Discipleship Ministries, The United Methodist church:
Songs of personal commitment to Christ often stem from a particular experience in the life of the author. This is a good example. Hymnologist Kenneth Osbeck cites an account left by Van DeVenter:
The song was written while I was conducting a meeting at East Palestine, Ohio, and in the home of George Sebring (founder of Sebring Campmeeting Bible Conference . . .). For some time, I had struggled between developing my talents in the field of art and going into full-time evangelistic work. At last the pivotal hour of my life came, and I surrendered all. A new day was ushered into my life. I became an evangelist and discovered down deep in my soul a talent hitherto unknown to me. God had hidden a song in my heart, and touching a tender chord, he caused me to sing.
This testimony makes more sense when knowing more about the author’s life. Judson Van de Venter (1855-1939) was raised on a farm near Dundee, Michigan. After graduating from Hillsdale College, he taught art in public schools in Sharon, Pennsylvania. Van Deventer was active as a layman in his Methodist Episcopal Church, including participation in revivals held at the church.
Based on his fervent faith and service to the church, friends encouraged him to leave his field of teaching and become an evangelist. It took five years for him to finally “surrender all” and follow the advice of his friends. His ministry took him to various places in the United States, England, and Scotland.
Perhaps the most important influence that Van de Venter had was on the young evangelist Billy Graham. The Rev. Graham cites this hymn as an influence in his early ministry. His account appears in Crusade Hymn Stories, edited by Graham’s chief musician, Cliff Barrows:
One of the evangelists who influenced my early preaching was also a hymnist who wrote “I Surrender All” — the Rev. J. W. Van de Venter. He was a regular visitor at the Florida Bible Institute (now Trinity Bible College) in the late 1930’s. We students loved this kind, deeply spiritual gentleman and often gathered in his winter home at Tampa, Florida, for an evening of fellowship and singing.