The Word for 2018

I knew He would do it.  He always does.  Every year I look for it.  In songs, in books, in billboards even.  I wonder if I am grasping at straws or just making it up.  Is it a product of my imagination?  How will I know when it is the one and not something my brain is misfiring and creating of it’s own choosing?

But then, BAM It literally hits me between the eyes.  This year, it was in a sermon about the wee little man, Zacchaeus.

I can hear the song now, the one my kids sang loudly and I was sure would be the death of my sanity all those years ago..

“Zacchaeus was a wee little man, a wee little man was he. 

He climbed up in the sycamore tree for the Lord he wanted to see.

And as the Savior passed that way He looked up in that tree

and He said, ‘Zacchaeus, you come down! 

For I’m going to your house today!'”

Ah, Zacchaeus.  What a mistake we make when we focus solely on the stature and inventive way he approached Jesus.  And the song doesn’t do it justice, really, because when I read the story in Luke 19 there is one word…one phrase that is the key to this whole scene and explains why it played out the way it did.  Read along with me…

He (Jesus) entered Jericho and was passing through.  And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus.  He was a chief tax collector and was rich.  And he was seeking to see who Jesus was…

Wait.  Did you get that?  Look closely.  “He was seeking to see who Jesus was.”  Hold on to that in your heart as you read on, letting it tint the rest of this story.

And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature.  So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way.  

Now watch this…

And when Jesus came to the place, HE LOOKED UP (emphasis mine) and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.”

When I read this, my heart leaps in my chest.  Zacchaeus didn’t want to just see Jesus pass by.  No, friends, he wanted more than that!  He wanted to see WHO JESUS WAS.  Zacchaeus was a wealthy man, a hated man, one not invited to dinner because of who he was and how he had gained his wealth.  But he heard Jesus was coming and he wanted to see what all the fuss was about.  Who was this man?  And Zacchaeus realized he needed to not just see Him, but to figure out the great mystery of this Man who walked the streets and was generating story after miraculous story of signs and wonders pointing directly back to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Zacchaeus was seeking Jesus.  And Jesus?  He knew.  He felt it, fully aware of the deepest need of the Tax Collector’s heart, and responded by looking straight at this little man and declaring that He had chosen Zacchaeus’ home to be the place where he would rest tonight.

Oh, how my heart beats strong at those words.  To be that kind of woman, who seeks my Savior above all else.  Who, though I have nothing to offer Him but my ordinary life, is seen by the Son of God.  To hear my name carried on the wind of His voice, His eyes fixed on me as He declares,

“Today, I choose YOU.

Tonight, I rest with YOU.

Forever, my beloved daughter, I dwell with YOU.”

The scripture was plastered across the screen above the stage as the pastor challenged us with truth and the word nearly leaped off the canvas, blinding me to everything else in the room.

“Seek.  Yes, Jeanine, this is it.  Pay attention.  I’m giving you what you asked for.”

And I breathed deep then let out a sigh.  Of course.  This is the word which I am to flesh out this year.  Seek.

Because if I seek to know who Jesus is above all else, the other things which have sucked time and life and energy away from me will be taken care of.

Do I want peace in my home?  Then I must seek Jesus.

Do I want my children to follow the Lord?  Then I must seek Jesus.

Do I want to keep a beautiful and welcoming house?  Then I must seek Jesus.

Do I desire to be a good wife and mother?  Then I must seek Jesus.

Do I want to teach my children with excellence?  Then I must seek Jesus.

Do I want to write words that bless and bring glory to God?  Then I must seek Jesus.

Do I long for deep and lasting friendships?  You guessed it.  Then I must seek Jesus.

He is the goal.  Everything else is glitter.  And the beautiful thing is, I already know how he will respond to my honest seeking because He has left stones of remembrance along the way for me to hold as I stumble through these days of learning and growing.  In Jeremiah 29:13-14a He made this promise to His people:

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, declares the Lord…

Our God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  He is more sure than any mountain and more firm than any stone.  Everything else in this life may crumble, but if I seek Him, I will stand firm.

I’m excited to see what God will do in me through this.  I’ll just be blunt and admit I have a lot He needs to work on!  I know many of my friends ask for the same each year, a word from Him.  If you have, would you share it here in the comments?  Again, I think it is so powerful to have a place where we can encourage one another in our walk with the Lord.  I know I need all the help I can get!  May the Lord bless us with grace to walk out our convictions and fulfill His purpose for us in 2018.  Be blessed, my friends.  And, remember, keep it simple.


4 thoughts on “The Word for 2018

  1. So good, my friend! I love how He gave you that word. I wasn’t looking for a word this year, but alas, the Lord put one on my heart anyway. Focus. I’m looking forward to what He will accomplish in me and through me as I focus my heart and my mind on the Lord and whatever He wants me to focus on.

    Liked by 1 person

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