I am just back from a great few days of networking and dreaming with mission organizations and the team at Go Corps (a mid-term mobilizing agency for those just out of college). During our time, Lindsey, a staff member at Go Corps, shared a devotional on Luke 19:7-8. It is the oft told story of Zacchaeus. Here is the story:
“He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
(Luke 19:1-10 ESV)
There could be another post on that fact that the crowd judged Jesus for staying with a sinner (when was the last time you invited yourself into the life of an outcast?) But let’s focus on the moment between Jesus inviting himself to “stay” at Zacchaeus’ place and Zacchaeus’ declaration of selling his goods and his salvation. The text doesn’t allow for much time – the crowd complains and next thing we know Zacchaeus is saved. But this story implies that Jesus was in his house. This is the time I like to call the unknown hours. My Bible professors would rail against adding things to a text that are not there so I must be careful. Let’s imagine what the conversation or teaching was like once Jesus was in Zaccheaus’ house. What questions were answered? What stories were told?
Culturally we hate this kind of story. We are given some facts. Then we are given new facts that are much different but there is no bridge of information to get us there. It is the missing piece of stories that often drive us crazy. When it comes to many of our own salvation stories they go a lot like this one. We know how evil our hearts were before and what life looked like. Then we came to a realization of how much better Christ was but we have a hard time making the bridge. We usually dig deep enough to get some story but we can’t pinpoint how our heart changed, how our thinking shifted.
Rather than hate the story however we should rejoice in it. The Holy Spirit works in the unknown hours to change our stubborn natures and bring us into relationship with Christ. As we live in ongoing response to the gospel there are many unknown hours type shift in our live as the Spirit continues to work on us in sanctification. We should embrace these times with joy and revel in the completed work.
Are you ready for what the Spirit might do to you in the unknown hours?