Faith. Crazy faith.
When Jesus heard his answer, he said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” But when the man heard this he became very sad, for he was very rich.
Luke 18:22-23 NLT
Crazy faith is the demonstration of a changed heart.
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.” Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled. 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. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”
Luke 19:5-10 NLT
Zacchaeus loved money more than he loved people. The evidence of this truth about his heart was that he cheated others so that he could have more money. He was a swindler. He didn’t break into people’s houses or take their things, but he was shrewd and unfair, a liar and an opportunist who took advantage of his position of authority to build up his own wealth by taking it from others. And that is all wealth is – either giving or receiving and then either pulling it up to rust or using it for His glory and the service unto others. The danger in piling up wealth and treasures is that there is someone else who could be touched and their need could be met and we might be the very vessels who are meant to bring the love of Christ by offering them relief from their oppression.
You see, Zacchaeus didn’t understand his responsibility towards his fellow man before he walked with Christ. Zacchaeus was only worried about himself when he was lost. But Jesus Christ touched his life, and a transformation occurred within his heart. When Zacchaeus laid his hands on true, crazy faith in the Lord, it rocked his world. Walls fell down that he had built around his heart and the things that he once clung to and protected, he was ready to get it out of his life, because he knew both the sinful dishonesty that it represented, and he knew that he had deprived others through his actions. And he did not repay them just what he “owed” to be just. Nor did he repay them double the original amount which could be considered “restitution”. No, he repaid them for times as much as a c demonstration of His new love. Then he gave half his wealth to the poor.
Now here is the important point. If he had just been touched by guilt or shame, he might have given the amount or double the amount. But his grattitude for what he received from Christ that day in his forgiveness and salvation – His realizing the value of what He had received in Christ compared to the relative worthlessness of his wealth and possessions – it led him to demonstrate some crazy faith.
What would people around you say if you all of a sudden started giving back love to the people you have cheated and hurt in the past? What would people around you say if you started loving those who you used to consider and treat like your enemies? What would people say if you started giving open handedly to the poor and to those in need who could never repay you. The world would either think you a fool or know you to be touched by Christ.
They might see the testimony of your life as a living sacrifice of grattitude towards the loving and merciful Good that lifted you up out of your empty life of only serving yourself. They might catch a glimpse of Christ who lives in you.
And this is crazy faith, not that we follow some list of rules to prove to others that we are good people – but that we are so overwhelmed that God would accept us as His even when we know ourselvescas sinners, that we don’t care what people will think or say about us, we just want to share the Love of Christ with them.
And when this is the state of our hearts, when we have been touched by the healing power of Christ, when He comes and lives in us and through us in our daily walk, we might not yet be perfected, but we will be recognized by the world as a peculiar people. The world will know that there is something different about our relationship and our closeness with the Lord. It will be undeniable.
Crazy faith tells us to do things the world will see as foolish.
The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. As the Scriptures say,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.”
So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.
But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength. Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.
As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God. God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord .”
1 Corinthians 1:18-31 NLT
So today, I ask you, friends. Has the Lord touched your life yet? Do you know his overwhelming grace? Is your life a demonstration of your crazy faith? Have you reached that humbled place where you are amazed and grateful for the forgiveness that He has extended to you? Have you reached that amazing place where you realize that his amazing grace is available to save another filthy wretch like yourself just by their hearing the message and coming into contact with the Christ who lives in you? Are you alive with Christ?
Examine yourself. Realize the gift that has been given. Know the price that has been paid for you. Admit your unworthiness to receive such honor and glory from the Lord your God, but c trust that He knows better than you the value and purpose of your life in His Kingdom. And walk in the authority that He extends to you as a child of God, not so that you walk proudly as a king, nor knowledgeable as a teacher, but as a humble servant to others and as a wise, anointed vessel of His love.
Be crazy in love with Christ today, my friends, for this truly is the blessed life.