Links Daily Devotional

Our Penetrating God

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. (Mark 10:21)

Although a case could be made for the classic knockdown, I’ve read and mostly agree with the idea that the best shot into the wind is a confident, solid strike that sends the ball boring through the wind. Its positive effect: penetration and distance.

Perhaps we’re bordering on a discussion of physics so far today, but as daunting as it may sound, physics lies behind excellent golf. To play well, it helps to be part artist, part psychologist, part athlete, and part physicist. The last matters greatly because successful propulsion—with velocity and trajectory in the mix—makes for good golf shots and happy golfers!

In a spiritual sense, God too is looking for meaningful penetration and continuing propulsion in our lives. That is, he wants to reach our hearts and then move them in the same direction as his.

Jesus famously encountered two rich men. One we know only as “the rich young man” (or “ruler” in some accounts). The other we know by name: Zacchaeus.

In each case, Jesus demonstrated his knowledge of what was going on in the man’s heart. To the public observer, the rich young man was morally upright and an exceptional citizen. To Jesus, he still had a cage around his heart. Contrarily, Zacchaeus was despised by the public as a thieving tax collector, loyal to those who governed the land rather than to God. But when Jesus looked into this man’s heart, he saw a true desire for something new and grand. This man Zacchaeus wanted to be saved.

The conversations Jesus had with these men reveal much. The young man wanted to talk definitions and details. So Jesus met him there. The Savior told the young man, “You are almost there, but one thing still grips your heart ahead of God. It is money. Abandon your riches and you’ll find your way into the kingdom.”

But Jesus never brought up details with Zacchaeus. He simply spoke of relationship—“let’s eat together.” Surprisingly, Zacchaeus’ response went right to the details: “I’m giving back all that I have stolen, and much more!”

God has the enduring ability to look right into our hearts as well, to talk with us in the necessary terms. The question is whether we will respond like the young man or like Zacchaeus. The young man turned away, unwilling to unlock his heart to the King. But Zacchaeus threw open the doors of his home and his heart. He wanted whatever Jesus had to give him, no matter what it cost him to get it. And in this way, Zacchaeus began down that road of moving in the same direction as Jesus, the Lord who gave us everything at a commensurate cost to himself.

Jeff Hopper

June 12, 2012

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