When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. Luke 19:5-6

We don’t know what happened to Zaccheus that day, but we do know something happened. Zaccheus climbed a tree, got called down, went into his house with Jesus and came out a brand new man. We don’t know what Jesus said, what He did, or what their conversation entailed. But one thing we do know, is that Jesus noticed him in the tree and acknowledged him. That simple act of acknowledgment led to a transformed life that brought Zaccheus from darkness to light, it made his community a better place and it serves to this day as an example for us to follow.

Zaccheus was looking for something that day. Clearly he wanted to see Jesus, but more than likely he had some deeper personal issues he wanted resolved. Perhaps he was looking for hope, friendship, redemption, or maybe a combination of these. While we’re probably not too close to our local tax collector, we’re probably lot closer than we think to a number of folks looking for some of the same answers Zaccheus’ was seeking.

Last week, I challenged you to make a list of five people far from God and begin praying for them daily. That was the first step in our PASSION evangelism strategy. PRAY for those who are far from God.

This week, we’re going to take things up a notch and get a little more personal with those on our prayer list. As you continue to pray, look for creative ways to begin acknowledging them on a regular basis. This is the second step in our PASSION strategy: ACKNOWLEDGE them.

Acknowledging those far from God can be a simple “hello” while passing them in the hall, it can be a text message to wish them Merry Christmas, or it can be a comment left on one of their social media posts. There are tons of ways to simply acknowledge someone, so get creative as you pray, and seize the opportunities God gives you to acknowledge those far from Him.

Acknowledging those we’re praying for really is just as simple as it sounds, yet perhaps that’s why it’s so easy to forget or to just put off for another time. Whatever our reasons, let’s leave them in the past, and let’s get proactive this week acknowledging those far from God.

Chances are we won’t have to look up into a sycamore tree to make it happen, but there’s a high likelihood that the simple act of acknowledgment will eventually lead to a transformed life like Zaccheus.

PRAY for those far from God.