Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.Luke 19:1-4
Zacchaeus was a hated man for his profession as a tax collector. He was short in stature as well. Yet He had a desire to encounter Jesus and to find hope. All thanks to the Sycamore-fig tree, he was able to scale above his peers and lay eyes on Jesus himself as He passed through Jericho.
The Sycamore-fig tree is one unique tree that has its branches reaching far out beyond its main trunk. It has the ability to bring shade over a large area, and its branches are sturdy enough to hold the weight of a man. That explains Zacchaeus’ guts to climb up the tree!
As I was praying over the ministry of Baan Dem Rak and our direction for this year, especially in the context of our re-opening in July and hosting a mission trip (Missions From Home), I felt the Lord impress upon me the picture of this tree that Zaccheus was on.
It felt as if God wanted us to be the Sycamore-fig tree, planted in the middle of the community that Baan Dem Rak serves. As I pushed on to ask why, I sense the Lord saying, “My beautiful Sycamore-fig tree gives my children an opportunity to see me.”
Zacchaeus was lacking in height. He was also lacking in favour amongst the people. No one would make way for him through the crowds. In terms of His desire to encounter hope and the divine, he was in great lack. Yet Zacchaeus saw the tree and saw an opportunity on the tree to scale up and finally see Jesus.
We felt that God wanted our ministry to be like the Sycamore-fig tree, to provide practical opportunities to the less privileged, to rise up against the injustice of the systems of this world, and find Jesus on the other side.
As we step into the 2nd half of 2021, and with the reopening of the community centre in July 2021, we want to see the community centre growing up as a beautiful Sycamore-fig tree with wide-reaching branches that can inspire, encourage, and uplift the people in our community.
Through very practical approaches, we hope to increase employment rates amongst the adults of the community, as well as computer literacy skills amongst the young. Through these platforms of training, we hope to build genuine relationships and help them to encounter Jesus.