Astronaut Neil Armstrong made history when he stepped off the Apollo 11 lunar module and became the first person to walk on the moon. He commemorated the moment with words he settled on just before exiting the craft. Apparently he thought the chances of landing on the moon were 50-50 so he didn’t give much thought to what he would say should it actually happen.
The words he chose have etched themselves into the fabric of American (maybe even world) history – “one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.” For decades, these words have actually been disputed as Armstrong claimed to have spoken “one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind.”
NASA claimed the “a” was squelched out by static in the communication system. Intense audio analysis has proved inconclusive and when interviewed later in life, Armstrong admitted he could not hear the “a” in his statement.
Isn’t it interesting how seemingly every moment is met with some form of contradiction or conflict? Sometimes it doesn’t seem to matter whether we are doing the right thing or not, whatever we do will be met with someone who doesn’t agree.
When Jesus encountered a guy named Zacchaeus (which was the focus of parts 1 & 2 of CCC’s One Small Step series), there was a group of people around the encounter who didn’t agree with what Jesus was doing.
Yet, Jesus didn’t allow their disagreement to stop him from engaging with someone they didn’t think he should. And Zacchaeus didn’t let their disagreement stop him from accepting Jesus’ invitation – an invitation that changed everything for Zacchaeus.
Take a few minutes to read Luke 19:1-10 and the next step of considering the following questions about how one small step can have incredibly high stakes and eternal implications:
- Do you agree that a journey is simply a series of steps? Why or why not?
- Do you agree that every journey begins with the first step? Why or why not?
- What options did Zacchaeus face in responding to Jesus’ invitation?
- Why do you think Zacchaeus chose to welcome Jesus gladly? What might have been going on in Zacchaeus’ heart?
- Why do you think the other people around took exception to Jesus hanging out with Zacchaeus?
- Why do you think Jesus chose to hang out with Zacchaeus even though so many people disagreed?
- What changed to prompt Zacchaeus to give half of his possessions to the poor?
- What changed to prompt Zacchaeus to make restitution to anyone he had cheated?
- Do you think these changes were the result of receiving grace? Why or why not?
- How might Zacchaeus’ story have been different had Jesus not taken the steps he took? What about if Jesus not taken the steps he took?
- Is there a step you can take to make your story or someone else’s more connected to following Jesus? What keeps you from taking it?
- What next steps will you take a step to engage in following in the footsteps of Jesus?
Zacchaeus’ story includes Jesus taking one small step to notice, engage, and invite. Zacchaeus’ story includes his curiosity motivating him to position himself to see Jesus. Zacchaeus’ story involves a response to Jesus’ invitation – one small step with huge implications – that resulted in life change for Zaccheaus.
Zacchaeus’ story includes a connection to our stories today. The same invitation of grace that was made to him is made to each of us. This invitation of grace is precisely the reason Jesus left up there to come down here. The invitation of grace is extended because God loves us just as we are but too much to leave us that way.
Today is Monday – make it a day where you take a step to respond to Jesus’ invitation of grace!