What is NORMAL? I am pretty sure the concept doesn’t exist. I’m also pretty sure many people have looked at me and thought to themselves, or said out loud, “This dude’s not normal.” Guilty, I know am a bit unusual at times.
Our definition of normal, is conditioned upon our culture. What we consistently see we eventually believe to be normal. If you hear a lie long enough, you will believe it. We have lots of tv personalities to tell us what normal is and what it is not. I am convinced however if we are ever going to truly impact this world for Jesus, we have to give up on the idea of being normal.
Jesus doesn’t care about what our culture, considers normal. Jesus cares about Kingdom culture. He isn’t looking for those who blend in, but for those willing to live a life according to the principles of His Word. People who are willing to pursue Jesus at all cost, even if it means people look at them and think, “That’s not normal.”
In Luke 19 we find an unusual story about a corrupt tax collector named Zacchaeus who wanted to see Jesus. The problem? Jesus was kind of a celebrity at the time, so whenever He came into towns, huge crowds flocked to Him. Zacchaeus also was vertically challenged. He was short and he couldn’t see over the crowd!
Now, I’m not a fan of huge crowds, so I would have taken one look at the throng of people and said, “Nope, not worth it.” I would have gone back inside and made lunch, but Zacchaeus had a desire to see Jesus that was bigger than his disposition.
Luke 19:4 (NLT) So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.
The scripture tells us that Zaccheus was a wealthy man. As a wealthy man, he likely would have worn a nice robe and culturally it would have been uncommon for a wealthy man to run. Yet, Zacchaeus not only ran ahead of the crowd, the dude climbed a tree. I can imagine the shop owner across the street, trying not to stare at the short little robed man making his way up the tree. It was not normal, but he didn’t care. He wanted to see Jesus.
Luke 19:5-7 (NLT) When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today. 6 Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. 7 But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.
I LOVE that Jesus calls Zacchaeus by name. If I were Zacchaeus, a tax collector who had likely ripped off many people, I would have been a little worried. “Jesus knows my name. He probably knows my reputation too.” Yes, Jesus knows all about your past, but when Jesus comes to us He doesn’t come with an accusation, He comes with an invitation!
That invitation ticked off the people, “Why would Jesus dine with this wicked man? I am more righteous than Zacchaeus and surely more deserving! This isn’t normal Jesus!” Again, Jesus isn’t concerned with normal.
How many times when people question our motives do we shrink back in fear? Should we be concerned with those who think we have impure motives or with God who truly knows the motivations of our heart?
Why the crowd was complaining Zacchaeus was having his life transformed by the power and presence of Jesus.
Luke 19:8 (NLT) Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”
Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”
I hope that when God is moving I am not on the side complaining because He didn’t move like I expected. I don’t want to be a part of the crowd, I want to be a part of the movement. It turns out God doesn’t need the approval of the crowd to move. I am convinced If you wait to have the approval of the crowd then you will miss out on the best God has for your life.
We’ve got to step out in faith and be willing to break cultural norms and do what Jesus did. Reach out like Jesus reached out. Remember, Jesus hasn’t called us to do the normal thing, He called us to pursue His plans! He called us to go into all the world and make disciples!
Don’t try to be normal, after all how can you change what you are a part of? The world doesn’t have the power of God within them. You do. I pray today that God will lead you to people and opportunities to demonstrate His power. Pray for people and believe that when you break the norm, His power will transform lives.