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Luke 19:1-10, Payback

Key Verse

Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, ‘Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.’
— Luke 19:8-10

RCL Daily Devotion for Saturday, May 25, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by R. Fergus Moir from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

Sometimes “sorry” just isn’t enough. Sometimes, even changing isn’t enough. When the damage is long-standing and deep, true healing requires reparations—compensation for harms done.

As a young adult, I occasionally helped myself to office supplies at my various places of employ. I justified it in lots of creative ways, but twenty years later, I had to call it what it was: stealing. No one remained who would remember me in those places. In fact, some of the businesses were completely gone. But reparations were due. So on the advice of a friend, I purchased a comparable volume of office supplies and donated them to a charity.

It might not seem like such a big deal, but it’s indicative of a pattern of privilege, and to break the pattern will take more than “sorry” or “I won’t do it again.” Zacchaeus got this instinctively. Once he’d met Jesus and experienced the grace of acceptance—hated tax collector that he was (and with good reason)—he could not stay the same. He wanted to demonstrate that he was changed, to try to heal his past wrongs, by paying back four times the amount he cheated people out of. He put his money where his mouth was.

God, help me to see where my actions have caused harm, directly or indirectly, and with the example of Zacchaeus, inspire me to healing action. Amen.


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Luke 19:1-10

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