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The Lost and the Lame

by Bob Peterson

Zacchaeus was a man of limited height.
To call him wee, little might be impolite,
But it's true in a crowd you would tend to lose sight
Of Zacchaeus of limited height.

He was often avoided by those whom he met.
As a tax collector, gathering up debt.
Though it made him quite rich, it made others up set.
He was avoided by most those he met.

Rich as he was, he was longing to find
Answers to questions of the spiritual kind.
Answers that might bring him some peace of mind,
Answers he was longing to find.

Then he happened to hear of Christ coming his way.
To his very town He was coming that day.
He was desperate to see and hear what He might say.
So excited of Christ coming his way.

He leapt from his seat and rushed out the door.
His feet flying so fast, hardly touching the floor.
Not even aware of the slippers he wore.
He jumped up and rushed out the door.

He ran a whole block then, stopped for a thought,
"I'm not sure the way or just the right spot
Of where Jesus is, or ought to be sought."
Zacchaeus stopped as he thought.

Then off to the east he heard a great cheer
And knew that Jesus must surely be near.
"He couldn't be more than a few blocks from here."
He thought when he heard the great cheer.

When he got to the street where the noise came from,
He found people packed in as tight as a drum.
They stood there awaiting where Jesus would come,
On the street where the noise came from.

There was no way through that Zacchaeus could find,
Though he asked for some help, there was none so inclined.
He could not see a thing, there standing behind,
No way through of which he could find.

Then off down the road he spotted a tree,
And thought, "There's something might work for me.
Up in its branches I surely could see."
So, he moved down the road to the tree.

But how to get high when you're standing so low?
He reached up his arms just as high as they'd go,
Then jumped in the air without much to show,
As he stood standing so very low.

Then he saw a lad watching, shaking his head.
"No, no, not like that" to Zacchaeus he said.
"I'll give you a boost." As his hands he then spread.
Lifting up while still shaking his head.

Zacchaeus then pulled himself up on a limb.
While you might call him short, you wouldn't say slim.
And he was sure wishing, there was less of him,
As he pulled himself up on that limb.

From up in the tree, he could look all around,
Looking over the heads of those down on the ground.
Seeing clearly, the path down which Jesus was bound,
In the tree as he looked all around.

Zacchaeus cried out as Christ came into sight,
Waving his arms with all of his might.
Nearly losing his balance, giving him such a fright,
As Jesus came there into sight.

As Jesus approached, He stopped by the tree,
Looking up, for Zacchaeus, He wanted to see.
"Hey, you there Zacchaeus, come down here to me."
Jesus said, as He stopped by the tree.

"For it's to your house that I'm needing to go.
So, hustle on down and I don't mean slow.
The way to your home, I want you to show
For it is there that I'm needing to go.

Many there in the crowd showed shock and dismay,
That Jesus would speak with Zacchaeus this way.
"To dine with sinners, well really, I say."
Said those showing shock and dismay.

Zacchaeus was touched by Jesus's care
So much that he vowed right then and there.
To take all he had and give out a half share
To the poor, all because of Christ's care.

Jesus smiled at Zacchaeus, then to the crowd said,
"Here is a Jew tasting salvation's bread.
For the Father desires to bring life to the dead."
These words, Jesus to the crowd said.

It might seem to us that God would desire
Those walking around like they lived in a choir.
Or at least not a thief, sinner, or liar.
We might think that's what God would desire.

But God seeks out the lost and the lame,
Not the holy-devout but those knowing shame.
Those who are desperate for a new life to claim.
God seeks the lost and the lame.

Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10)

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This poem was a finalist in the April 2022 poetry contest

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