To illustrate what our response to God’s generosity should be like, Chan contrasted the account of the rich young ruler in Luke 18 with the story of Zacchaeus the tax collector in Luke 19. Both men were wealthy, yet each responded to Jesus differently. When Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell all that he had and to follow him, the man went away sad because he was so wealthy. “That’s the way some people respond when we ask them to give to those who are in need,” said Chan. “They almost get sad.” Wealth is such a significant obstacle, in fact, that Jesus comments on how difficult it is for the rich to become part of God’s kingdom. What is encouraging, though, is that the very next chapter relates the story of Zacchaeus.
When Jesus tells Zacchaeus that he is coming to his house, the tax collector is overjoyed. Instead of seeing his money as an obstacle to Jesus, he is beside himself that Jesus would actually visit him in his home. Zacchaeus decides to give half of his possessions to the poor and pays back four times the amount of money to people he has cheated. Jesus says that salvation has come to the tax collector’s house as a result.
“I’m praying that some of you would be honest enough to admit, ‘Wow, I feel more like the rich young ruler than I do like Zacchaeus,’” said Chan. When we really understand who Jesus is and when we start to comprehend God’s generosity toward us, money will no longer seem that important. It will not have a hold on us. Instead, we will have hearts that are joyful and generous.
Chan closed his sermon with prayer, saying, “I’m not asking you to give. I’m going to ask God to give. I want him to give you sight like Zacchaeus. I want him to give you generosity like the Macedonians.”