|Theme:||Our size doesn't matter to Jesus. Proper 26 (31) Year C|
|Object:||A basketball and a player who could demonstrate dribbling skills, if possible.|
|Scripture:||When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today." Luke 19:5 (NIV)|
I know that many of you like to play basketball. Basketball is a very popular sport for both boys and girls. There are several things that are very important if you want to be a good basketball player. First, you need sure hands so that you can catch the ball and dribble up and down the court. A good player should be able to dribble equally well with their right or left hand and dribble behind their back and between their legs. It also helps to have quick feet and to be a good shooter. Those are skills which many people can develop with a lot of determination and hard work.
There is another thing that is very helpful if you want to play basketball -- and it is something that you can't develop no matter how hard you work. Do you know what that is? It is very helpful if you are TALL! Most professional basketball players today are close to seven feet tall. It is helpful to be tall, but you can be successful in basketball without being tall.
Several years ago there was a basketball player by the name of Nate Archibald. When Nate finished college, most of the professional teams ignored him because they thought he was too short. In fact, his nickname was "Tiny." The Cincinnati Royals decided to take a chance on Nate and signed him to play on their team. Well, Nate made it big in the NBA because he was lightning fast, had good hands, and he was a great shooter. He played in the NBA for fourteen seasons and became known as the player who proved that a "little man" could play in the NBA. Just listen to some of the honors he won:
Not too bad for a man that most people thought was too short to play in the NBA.
The Bible tells us about another man who became great even though he was not very tall. His name was Zacchaeus. I know that most of you know the story of Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was not only short, he was also hated by almost everyone because he was a tax collector. As a tax collector, he often cheated people and collected more taxes than they owed.
One day Zacchaeus heard that Jesus was coming to town. He had heard about Jesus and he wanted to see him, but he was so short that he couldn't see over the crowd. He climbed up in a tree so that he could see. As Jesus passed by, he called to Zacchaeus, "Come down, because I am going to your house today." Zacchaeus climbed down and took Jesus to his house. While Jesus was there, Zacchaeus told Jesus that he was sorry for the wrong things he had done and that he would give half of all he owned to the poor. He also said that he would repay anyone he had cheated four times that amount. He may not have been very tall, but Zacchaeus became a giant in God's kingdom that day because he decided to follow Jesus.
You may not be very tall right now -- and you may never be very tall, but you can be a giant in God's eyes if you will follow Jesus.
Dear Lord, we are thankful that you don't care whether we are big or small. Help us to be willing to follow Jesus and stand tall for Him. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.
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