Sycomore Tree Ministries
Robert Wurtz II
Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. (Luke 19:2-6)
I have chosen this passage to illustrate how Christ can call a person to Himself virtually anywhere. Notice what is missing from this scene. All the things that have traditionally been believed as necessary to seeing a person come to Christ are all absent. In fact, when this man gives his testimony as to where he was when he heard the voice of Christ his shocking reply will be, “I was up in a tree.”
Many in modern times believe that God can only “call” or “save” people the way they were “called” or “saved.” It’s as if the enemy has tried to turn every way in which a person has successfully come to Christ into a measure or a ministry. Although there are no two people alike, the enemy would have us believe that God saves all similarly. It is true that all the elements must be in place (faith, repentance, etc.); however, how God accomplishes these things may vary as the sand on the sea shore.
Measures and Ministry
It seems to be human nature to want to immortalize things. If God moved in one way or in one place, someone is bound to build three tabernacles to it. This is a tragic mentality. Soon rather than relying on the Holy Spirit to do a work, a superstitious reverence is placed on the spot where God moved. In other words, unless a person is in a church building, a stadium, camp meeting, youth camp, etc., they cannot hear from God. In fact, not only the spot, but the whole process of how God moved can be used superstitiously. That is to say, they have an unjustifiable faith in the means and the measures rather than God Himself. Anytime we put our trust in anything but God, we are in error.
Sycomore Tree Ministries?
Imagine Zacchaeus deciding that the way he came to Christ is the primary way God wants to save people. So he holds a meeting in a grove of Sycamore trees. He tells the people to climb up and wait for the call of God. Without question, if he had done such a thing, he would be labeled a lunatic. Why? Only because he believed he needed to employ trees as a measure in evangelism. However, the real error is in the notion that we can clone a move of God.
It is unfortunate that such ideas can actually become a stronghold in people’s minds. For example, imagine believing that the only way you can be saved is to go to a church and wait for an altar call. It would be pitiful to believe such a thing, when the truth is, a person can respond to God and be Born Again almost anywhere they are. I have known of people to be driving down the road, and God speak to their heart. Others have been saved by going out into the woods or a field to pray. The places are almost limitless. If the story of Zacchaeus teaches us anything along these lines, it is that “If God can call a man from a sycamore tree — He can call them from any place.”
Called From Where We Are
I recall over twenty years ago God called me to Himself while I was living my daily life. He began speaking to me and drawing me to His word all during the week. I went to church on Sundays, but this was not where God dealt with me primarily. It was at home, at work, driving in the car, etc. Later, when God called me to service for Him, I was at work in a warehouse.
Think of all the different places the Lord Jesus calls people at. Some were on the fishing bank; some were collecting money; some were on His way to Galilee. The only common denominator was the call itself. They could have been anywhere; it didn’t matter. God does not need sycamore trees to save people — though He may choose to employ them. The key thing is that when a person hears the voice of Christ that they respond rightly.