Now, I am a horrible botanist, and not a very good namer of things at all. If I had been Adam or Eve, the names of thousands of species to this day would be 'Uhhhh", 'Geee', 'Hmmmm".
But I do believe that I would have called the Redbud Tree, the Zacchaeus tree.
I have noticed that the Red bud tree doesn't do well in the thick of the forest. No, it thrives along the edges, among the outskirts where the forest gives way to the ne'er do well territories along the interstates, among the rocks and hardpan where riff raff shrubs and weeds hang out. A red bud tree doesn't do well among the oaks. Nope, the oaks are much too tall of stature and tower over this gollum of a tree that shrinks out in odd forms as it snakes its way into the sun from the perimeter of the woods. One thing you have to admire about a redbud, it seeks out the light of the sun.
You don't notice the red bud tree most of the time. It is small and twiggy. In the summer its leaves are non-distinctive and camouflages its presence as one flies down the interstate. In the fall its leaves turn a nice red but the maples and oaks totally outclass it. In the winter, its bare branches look like flimsy waste brush.
But come those three weeks of the early spring, it turns dark red, to lavender, to hot pink! You can't believe what you are seeing as it out performs the rest of the forest in color and beauty.
Zacchaeus was a shrub of a man, whose stature would not measure up to the oaks of righteousness who lined the street to see Jesus coming through Jericho. So on the edge of the street, he climbed another tree to see Jesus.
And you would have thought it was early spring in Judea!! Jesus just flat out stopped by the side of the road and said, "I believe I have come in the right season. There seems to be a great change coming in this twig of a man. Zacchaeus, I'm stopping at your house for a gander"
And the little tree of a man basking in the Son's Light gushed forth, "Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor, and if a have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much!"
Well, it was breathtakingly beautiful! And Jesus said, "Today, salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham." That was Jesus' way of saying, "What a change of color!"
I don't know whether it's because I am 5 ft. 7 inches on a good day or whether lots of my thoughts are 'edgy', but like Zacchaeus, I, too, find more joy in seeking the Son's Light than to be in the shadows of the more poplar trees all around me. And there is more joy in giving than in receiving.
I pray and trust that in the quick trip of my life, as a husband, father, grandfather, sibling, child, and friend, I may have some spectacular seasons where the life of the Son preserves me. I mean whose Light preserves me so warmly, that I spring forth with a breathtaking word or beautiful witness of the Lord of my Life to another whom I love. Maybe today's that time for sharing in word and gift that the Son's Light changed my life!
Probably won't be much of a witness or much of a gift, but it will be done for the Glory of God and for a season change the view of the world for maybe one other.