Today’s Challenges: One is the loneliest number


Way back in 1969 a group known as “Three Dog Night,” recorded a song called “One is the loneliest number.” The basic concept is that being alone is no fun and not something most of us want. I was reminded of that song this week in an unexpected way.

This week I got to re-experience a young children’s Bible class. My wife’s helper was out of town and I wasn’t teaching, so I “assisted” with the 2nd grade bible class. You might think that you couldn’t learn much from a class presented for children that young, but then, you would be wrong.

The class was about a man in the Bible with no friends. No one wanted to be around him; he wasn’t nice and didn’t treat others very nice either. In fact that was the main thing he was known for, cheating and mistreating people. Besides that he looked weird, he was really short and people probably found it easy to make fun of him because of that, but maybe that is why he turned out to be such a mean person.

Jesus saw in this man the potential for greater things. He turned his life around and took the pain of loneliness out of his life. And just in case you haven’t figured it out, the man’s name was Zacchaeus and you can find his story in Luke 19. He was a Tax Collector working for the Romans collecting taxes and cheating people to line his own pockets. He was so alone that he was looking for someone to make a difference in his live and so anxious to find one, he even climbed a tree just to get a glimpse of Jesus.

The Bible class centered on how difficult it is to feel all alone and how you would feel in different situations. There are times we all feel alone, we feel unloved, and unliked. On the outside we may look to others like we have it all together. We may dress nice, we may have a good job, and we may have things that the world says means success, but we can still be alone. You may have none of those things and be alone and miserable because of that. Maybe that causes you, just like Zacchaeus, to treat others in unkind ways, but Jesus still is the answer to the loneliness and pain we sometimes feel.

Once Zacchaeus understood how much Jesus cared, that he could really understand his pain and loneliness. When Zacchaeus understood that Jesus really wanted to be his friend, his life was changed as no one else could change it. He literally became a “new man.” In Luke 19:8-10 we read: “Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!” Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”

Some of the most powerful and wonderful words in the Bible are found here, “For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” How about you? Are you all alone… are you lost? Perhaps it’s time to start looking for Jesus, even if you have to put some effort into finding him, like Zacchaeus?

By Russ Lawson

Russ Lawson is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with his column Today’s Challenges. He is semi-retired and an elder at the Mid-County Church of Christ. He can be reached at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

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