Coming Up Short

We all come up short in some area. What I mean by this is that we all have strengths and talents but we all don’t necessarily have the same ones. We might as well face that we just aren’t very good at some things. My kids say I am a bad driver. I strongly disagree with them due to my driving record over the last 36 years. But I know that I come up way short in the areas of music and decorating. I don’t have a natural eye for putting things together in a house or for a party….Bill would tell you he struggles with directions and I do not….we all come up short in different areas.

If you know our kids and have seen me in person, you know they got their height from me. Four out of five of us in our family are not tall people. I have never minded it, but I have hated it for our boys….I think they have great height…but after living through the Front 9, I can tell you the ridicule they have received for not being six feet tall has been relentless. I am a girl and grew up always being very short for my age. I endured some push back and alienation for coming up “short” but I never endured the brutal ridicule our sons have. Seriously….from middle school….all the way through college I have been astounded at the supposed “poking fun” but critical, hurtful words….that have been carelessly said to our boys.

They are not alone…some other males very close to our family have been nicknamed by others in college as “little man,” for their height specifically. It has been culturally acceptable to do this….it amazes me how people are so insensitive…to what they label and call others….giving no thought….if they happen to be 6′ 2″, they sometimes don’t realize that someone who is 5′ 9″ may not like being called short or having someone point out the height difference in front of others…..We don’t have anyone in our family who battles with weight or has another physical struggle but I wonder if those who do battle with other struggles endure the same kind of ridicule???

I have always loved the story of Zacchaeus found in Luke chapter 19. The story tells that Zacchaeus was a tax collector and a wealthy man. In Bible days tax collectors were hated because they were dishonest and gained wealth from their dishonesty. It also mentions that Zacchaeus was a short man….…Jesus had been performing miracles and the word had spread. People were very interested in seeing him. When Zacchaeus heard Jesus was coming to town, he “ran ahead” and “climbed a tree” so that he could see Jesus. He was too short to see over the crowd unless he climbed the tree.

I need to stop right here and point out a few things…… Zacchaeus was well aware he was short. He was a grown man and wanted something that everyone else wanted as well, to see Jesus…I love how Zacchaeus became resourceful. Knowing he was never going to be any taller, he ran to “climb a tree” to be able to see. He didn’t just give up and say, “I am too short I will never see Jesus”…..he didn’t let his height….which he could do nothing about…stop him from seeing and doing what he wanted to do. By his resourcefulness and willingness to do something no one else had to do……guess what? HE was the one Jesus noticed and called by name and Jesus went home to have dinner with him.

Here is where I speculate….Jesus knows everything. He is omnipotent and knew Zaachaeus’ name without being told…I believe human nature was the same way then as it is now. I believe Jesus knew of the ridicule Zacchaeus had faced all of his life because he was short (I realize too he was not a good man. He was a thief and was hated). When Jesus noticed him…I think it did something to Zacchaeus on the inside….Jesus…noticed him, picked him out of the crowd and went home with him. Right after this scene, “All the people saw this and began to mutter, ‘He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.'”…”But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, ‘Look Lord! 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.'”

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man, too is a son of Abraham. For the son of man came to seek and to save what was lost.” …. So many lessons here but the one I really want to focus on is this….When you are lacking in something, realize everyone is lacking in some area…….it could be your height, like Zacchaeus, or it could be a multitude of other things…the point is that Zacchaeus became resourceful and accepted his height and dealt with it. I am not at all saying he didn’t suffer from the ridicule he received from others. He just accepted who he was and didn’t let it stop him from doing what he wanted….the one thing he was ridiculed for ended up getting him the invitation from Jesus. He was the one Jesus wanted to go home with for dinner.

Realize we all come up short. We all are lacking in some area…but we can persevere and become resourceful or we can be the victim of other people’s insensitive comments….. we cannot do anything about what other people do or say …but we can do everything about what we do and who we become. As Christians we don’t have to do this alone.

There are some things we can never change….God doesn’t make mistakes….HE can take what He has given us and make it into something Great….our part is to accept and maximize….our gifts. And, not fall prey to the words from man….listen to who God says you are and what HE says you can do. You never know where it may lead. Proverbs 22:29, “Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.”

2 Timothy 2:14-17, “…charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene.”

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