I Surrender All
more than we want to know about surrendering ourselves to temptations.
We all know something about giving up our lives for our selfish momentary
pleasures. Most of us know more about surrender than we want to. We
surrender our health for our appetites. We surrender our fortunes for
momentary shopping sprees. We surrender ourselves for the approval of our
peers. We surrender our relationships to live selfish lives. We surrender
our sanity for insanity.
Zacchaeus was a man who knew something about of surrender.
19:1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing
through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax
collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a
short man he could not, because of the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and
climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked
up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your
house today." 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
7 All the people saw this and began to
mutter, "He has gone to be the guest of a 'sinner.'"
8 But 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
9 Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has
come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the
Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." NIV
Zacchaeus was a "chief tax collector” for the
Roman government. He was equal
to our chief of Internal Revenue Service. A tax collector under the Roman
tax collecting system gained his income by extorting more money from the
people than he had contracted to pay the Roman government. Evidently the
system had worked well for Zacchaeus for he was wealthy.
A man on
vacation was strolling along outside his hotel in Acapulco, enjoying the
sunny Mexican weather. He heard the screams of a woman kneeling in front
of a child. The man knew enough Spanish to determine that the boy had
swallowed a coin. Seizing the child by the heels, the man held him up,
gave him a few shakes, and an American quarter dropped to the sidewalk.
“Oh, thank you sir!” cried the woman. “You seemed to know just how to get
it out of him. Are you a doctor?” “No, ma’am,” replied the man. “I’m with
the United States Internal Revenue Service.”...
This was how Zacchaeus had lived.
The Soul Hungers for the Real
Zacchaeus had reached the peak of the corporate ladder, and it is evident
he wasn’t satisfied. The commendable thing about Zacchaeus was
that he realized he had climbed the wrong ladder. I would like to think it
was more than curiosity that made him climb that tree. Even though the
system had worked well for Zacchaeus it seems as though he was in search
of something better. Zacchaeus looked for Jesus with an air of expectancy.
He knew if Jesus was who he claimed to be, it would cost him his job as a
critics were skeptical of Zacchaeus, but they failed to see what was going
on inside Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus’ meeting with Jesus revolutionized
him, but he was ready for the change. His soul was hungry for the real
thing. He realized all the roads built in this world lead to the same
place—a dead end. The dead end always leaves us desiring the real thing.
Even if you become the master of your on fate, it is still a dead end
of Ernest M. Dickerman, age 87, considered the granddad of the Eastern
wilderness by the Sierra Club, said he committed suicide at his cabin in
the mountains of Buffalo Gap, Virginia:
He was 87. He
was found under a cherry tree behind his cabin, having shot himself,
police said. In a note to his family, Mr. Dickerman said he took his own
life as he had long planned to do after the infirmities of age left him
unable to "master my own fate in the wilds of this wild country." (Chicago
Tribune (8-6-98), Section 2).
all masters of our own fate; we can do whatever we choose with our lives.
Zacchaeus was certainly the master of his own fate, but he didn’t
like his fate. You can only wonder what Zacchaeus was expecting of Jesus.
I don’t think he expected Jesus to invite himself into his home. However,
I think he was expecting to pay a high price to satisfy his hunger for the
hunger is real for everyone. This emptiness we feel as we search
for a better world is soul hunger. This emptiness we feel as we run down
to the mall to buy the latest fad is actually soul hunger for the real
thing. We just have a difficult time recognizing soul hunger is what’s
essentially driving us. We are just looking in all the wrong places. We
may seek to satisfy it with money, sex, education, career, or family. But
God is the only real thing that can satisfy it.
know how you can know you are on the road to discovering the real thing?
It is when your life is blessing others. Zacchaeus says, “I will give half
I own to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone, I will pay them four
times what I defrauded them out of.” I can only wonder if it took half of
what he owned to pay those he had defrauded. Try to imagine how Zacchaeus’
life impacted those he paid restitution to.
conversion always affects our relationships with others.
Zacchaeus’ conversion was thorough; it not only impacted him inwardly, but
it impacted others outwardly. Everyone knew he was a sinner, and now
everyone is going to know that Zacchaeus met Jesus. There want be any
question about his conversion. Imagine the lives he impacted for Jesus.
desire led him to replace his code of conduct with God’s. This
always impacts the lives of others. To surrender to God we must accept
God’s standards of morality. Surrender doesn’t have anything to do with
adapting God’s standards to the way we want to live. We can’t live perfect
lives, but we can’t adapt God’s rule to fit our weaknesses, prejudices,
surrender our wills. If we seek to embrace God outwardly, while leaving
our wills unchanged it is only a matter of time until we begin to sin
outwardly. God is very much concerned about our thought life.
church grows today when we give ourselves wholeheartedly to God.
Then we will begin to impact the lives of others for Christ. Can you even
imagine what the crowd’s were saying about Zacchaeus as he began to make
restitution to those he had defrauded?
The Price of Surrender
live surrendered lives. They are just surrendered to different things.
We always surrender all we are to whatever it is we spend our lives doing.
If you choose to be a bum or president the price is the same. If you chose
to live for God or live for Satan the price is the same. We rarely
contemplate the price this world demands for our pursuits. We rarely know
the real price to be paid until it is too late. However, the price for
surrender is perpetually the same.
rich young ruler came to Jesus asking, “What good thing must I do to
inherit the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus told him to keep the
commandments. Jesus listed the commandments for him. The young ruler told
Jesus he had kept them all since his youth. Then Jesus said, “Go sell all
you have and give to the poor, and come and follow me.” He went away sad.
He was like many of us. He had already surrendered his life; it was just
to the wrong thing.
41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where
the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the
temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor
widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction
of a penny.
43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus
said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the
treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but
she, out of her poverty, put in everything-all she had to live on." NIV
price for surrender is the same for each of us whether we have little or
much. The amazing thing about the gospel stories is they turn our
world upside down. If all the rich people there had thrown all their
fortunes into the temple treasury they would not have given any more than
this poor widow. She had also given all she had, and that’s all God ask of
everyone. God wants all there is of you.
We would like
to divide what we have with God. We say this is mine and this is God’s. No
God wants all there is of us. When we make God lord of all, all we have
will be enough.
Zacchaeus had paid a high price for his worldly
success for he had fully surrendered everything to it, including his
reputation. It seems as though
everybody in the crowd knew he was a sinner. Zacchaeus was probably
comparable to some of our corporate executives who have disgraced
themselves and their families to impress the world.
price Zacchaeus paid to embrace Jesus convinces me he knew the cost of
surrendering his life to the wrong thing. Zacchaeus didn’t let his
pride stand in his way. He climbed the tree. After all there was no one
left for him to impress, they all had his number. He humbled himself in
the sight of the Lord and my, my, he was lifted higher than he had ever
ironic that we resist surrender to God, for we readily surrender to lesser
gods. Flip Wilson was a popular comedian several years ago, some
of you are old enough to remember him, and some are not.
1. But one of his characters was a Preacher at the "What’s Happening Now
Church." In a skit that he did he told about this preacher.
2. He’d yell: "IF THIS CHURCH IS GOING TO SERVE GOD IT’S GOT TO GET DOWN
ON ITS KNEES AND CRAWL!!!"
3. And the audience who was being prompted to be the congregation would
yell back "Make it crawl preacher, make it crawl!
4. And then he would yell: "AND ONCE THIS CHURCH HAS LEARNED TO CRAWL,
IT’S GOT TO GET UP ON ITS FEET AND WALK!!!"
5. And the audience would yell back "Make it walk preacher, make it walk."
6. Then he would say: AND ONCE THIS CHURCH HAS LEARNED TO WALK IT’S GOT
BEGIN TO LEARN TO RUN!!!"
7. And they would yell, "Make it run, preacher, make it run!"
8. Then he would say, "AND IN ORDER TO RUN, ITS GOT REACH DEEP DOWN INTO
POCKETS AND LEARN TO GIVE!!!"
9. And there would be a pause, and the people would say "Make it crawl
preacher, make it crawl."
What we fail
to realize is that the price for crawling and the price for running are
the same. They demand all there is of us.
The Rewards of Surrender are
price of surrender is the same for everyone, but the rewards are
different. We may surrender ourselves in such small increments as
we give ourselves over to whatever it is we are pursuing that we convince
ourselves the price isn’t really that high. Don’t kid yourself the price
is the same.
price of surrender would seem far different if we would only consider the
19 "There was a rich man who was dressed
in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was
laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what
fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
22 "The time came when the beggar died and
the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was
buried. 23 In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham
far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, 'Father
Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in
water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'
25 "But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember
that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus
received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26
And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so
that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross
over from there to us.'
27 "He answered, 'Then I beg you, father,
send Lazarus to my father's house, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him
warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.'
29 "Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and
the Prophets; let them listen to them.'
30 "'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if
someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'
31 "He said to him, 'If they do not listen
to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone
rises from the dead.'" NIV
said he had vivid memories as a kid of his father taking him to an auction
sale, telling him, "Don't scratch your nose at the wrong time, son." He
said to him, "Always remember this: whenever you go to an auction sale,
make sure you know your upper limit price."
ingrained in him. The great danger for us is that we walk into the
Christian life knowing clearly our upper limit price. Jesus does not allow
us to set that. "If you save your life, you will lose it; but if you lose
your life for my sake and the gospel's, you will keep it," said Jesus.
calling it is to a life of unconditional surrender where the price is
unknown. (Colin Smith, Arlington Heights, Illinois; source: Preaching
century Christians gave, or shall we say surrendered themselves to the
2 Corinthians 8:1-5
8:1 And now, brothers, we want you to know
about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 Out of the
most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled
up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were
able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they
urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to
the saints. 5 And they did not do as we expected, but they gave
themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will.
you given yourself to the Lord?
shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his own
surrendering to the Lord. We surrender to Jesus’ death. The price seems
too high, but remember the price is always the same.