Living a Life of Faith, Energised by Love
the town called Jericho there was a man no-one liked - not because he was a
short man, maybe bullied as a child; not because his name sounds funny –
Zack-ee-us – try saying it slowly, then quickly, in a sing-song way, then four
times quickly! No, it was because he was a cheat and took people’s money, which
made him richer than most people. Also, he worked for the Roman authorities and
no one liked them.
One day he heard Jesus was coming to town. But he had a problem. How was he going to see Jesus if he had to stand among people in the crowd who hated him? Climbing a tree might be the answer!
Draw an outline of a tree with trunk and branches. Draw around real coins to create card ‘coins’ and cut them out. Cover the outline of the tree with these card coins – brown for the trunk and branches and green for the leaves.
How could Zacchaeus climb a tree to see Jesus without anyone in the crowd noticing? The money tree is covered in money because at the point when Zacchaeus climbed the tree, money was still the most important thing in his life. But he knew it was not making him happy.
Talk about what things can’t be bought with money.
Being short Zacchaeus couldn’t see anything at
all. But close by there was a sycamore-fig tree, and it had low-down branches
to help Zacchaeus climb up higher.
He could hear Jesus coming closer. The crowd were making such a noise. Zacchaeus scrambled up the tree as high as he could and looked down on the crowd below. He had a clear view of Jesus coming closer. Jesus stopped...just underneath the tree. Zacchaeus held his breath. Jesus looked up into the tree. All the crowd looked up into the tree.
“Zacchaeus, come down immediately!” Jesus called up. “I want to come to your house today!”
You will need: a ripe yellow banana; a 30cm line drawn on a sheet of paper; paper and pens; five squares of paper marked as: farmer, plantation owner, shipping company, importing business, supermarket or shop; a plate of banana pieces, cut up ready to eat
The banana costs you 30p, but many people are involved in getting a banana to your home from overseas. So, how much of the 30p goes to each person involved? Mark off on the 30cm line how the 30p is divided.
The approximate figures are: farmer – 1p; plantation owner – 5p; shipping company – 4p; importing business – 7p; supermarket or shop – 13p
Zacchaeus actually stole money from people which meant poor people suffered. The trading and money systems of the world are unfair. The Fairtrade movement seeks to make the financial share fairer, in this case, the farmers.
Talk about how you feel about paying more for a Fairtrade item to support poorer people. Would you prefer to go for the cheapest possible option? There is a justice issue whenever we spend or invest our money. When you next go to the supermarket together look out for Fairtrade products!
Make a purse
There are many ways to make a purse or money bag – see Pinterest. You could:
Zacchaeus scrambled down as quickly as he could. The crowd loudly grumbled that Jesus had invited himself to Zacchaeus’ home. But Zacchaeus never heard their muttering because he was listening to what Jesus had to say.
He made sure Jesus had plenty to eat and drink. But after a long conversation, Zacchaeus knew he had to change the way he lived. He realised God didn’t like him cheating or being dishonest. God didn’t like how he spent his money on himself, nor how he treated people unkindly. Zacchaeus wanted to be like Jesus.
“Look, Jesus,” he said. “From now on I’m going to give back to anyone I’ve cheated, four times as much as I took from them. And I am going to give half of my possessions to the poor, the people who really need it.”
The aim is to shove 2p coins up the board to land in between the lines (not overlapping). Place the 2p coin just overlapping the start line. Using any part of your hand propel it forward. Give one point for every coin that lands in between the lines. The aim is for a player to be first to score two points for each of the nine sections. (But you can create your own rules.)
Talk about why the love of money affects how people use it today. It is amazing how Zacchaeus’ meeting with Jesus changed everything immediately. What happened?
We can imagine what people thought when they heard
Zacchaeus was going to share his wealth and put right the wrong things he’d said
and done. When Jesus heard what Zacchaeus intended to do, he said something
extraordinary. “Today this man has been saved. The Son of Man (that was how
Jesus sometimes described himself) has come to seek and save (rescue) people
who are lost.”
It was as though Zacchaeus had lived like someone who was lost. He didn’t know where he belonged nor where he was going. Once he’d met Jesus, he knew he belonged to Jesus. He knew where he was going in life. He didn’t need to rely on his money.
Talk about what you think Jesus and Zacchaeus talked about when Jesus came to Zacchaeus’ house for tea. What do you like best about this story?
Talk with God together
Here’s a great some by Awesome Cutlery, ‘Father, you are King of heaven’
a song asking God to help us to pray and to trust him because we can’t do
things on our own. Zacchaeus discovered
how true this was and is, but maybe didn’t know about a mountain trying to
brush its teeth or earthworms trying to do press-ups!!
Members of your family may feel confused and fearful about the pace, direction and implications of the release of Lockdown. But we can talk with God about it!
Adapted from, and with thanks to, Barnabas in Schools, Messy