Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house.” Luke 19:9
It is said that a man who had knowingly underpaid his income tax was troubled in conscience and had difficulty sleeping. So he sent a check for $150 to the Internal Revenue Service with this note: ‘I hope this is enough. If I can’t sleep now, I will send you the rest of the money.”
We read in the Bible about another man who cheated on taxes: the publican Zacchaeus of Jericho. As a tax collector he charged people more taxes that what they owed, putting the surplus into his own pocket. Perhaps also his conscience bothered him, for he resolved to do more than make restitution for his thefts. He said: “Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount” (Luke 19:8).
The first man had not really repented because he wanted to settle for the minimum amount – just enough to find peace and rest. Zacchaeus, on the other hand, practiced maximum Christianity. Little wonder that Jesus commended him highly!
Maximum Christianity means doing the most we can to serve Jesus Christ, who gave everything He had – His very life – to give us peace with God and eternal salvation. Maximum Christian faith gladly and freely goes the limit out of love to Christ. The lazy Christian will do the least he can. If anyone asks him to walk a mile with him, he will go a fourth or, at the most, half a mile. Jesus said: “If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles" (Matthew 5:41).
Jesus might have reasoned: Isn’t it enough if I earn half a salvation for people and let them work out the rest of it themselves? But He didn’t think or act that way. He practiced maximum love. Shouldn’t we do the same?
PRAYER: O Lord, enlarge my heart so that I may serve You and others not with the least but with the most. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)