We are looking at stories of redemption. The redemption verse I selected for you is from I Peter 1:18-19 It says, “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”

Labor not for the meat that perishes – John 6:27. This verse was part of my call as a young girl fresh out of college. I chose Christian school teaching rather than public as I knew I would have freedom to share Christ in every subject.

Zacchaeus was a tax collector. One commentary said that this job was seen as sinful, self-enriching, corrupt and traitorous to the Jewish community. At the end of the workday folks left his office heartbroken. Perhaps they gave him their last coins or a favorite piece of jewelry. We see his hard heart as he must extort funds for the government. He may have pocketed a few extra coins along the way and is living in a lavish lifestyle that most would envy.

We pay taxes here in Montana. A hefty one on our gas and property.  Just recently they put a three percent resort tax on purchases that are considered luxuries. Now mind you Whitefish and Columbia Falls don’t seem like a resort but since they are close to skiing and Glacier Park we qualify.

Just that word tax seems well, taxing. And once again the headlines say our government has to shut down without a spending hike. I work for the state of Montana. Decisions on spending are not always in line with my Minnesota roots. I grew up in a family of givers and ones that would spend infrequently on themselves.

The change for Zacchaeus came the day he met Jesus. “He climbed up in a sycamore tree for the Lord he wanted to see.” The change of heart brought a change of occupation as well. It’s the LOVE of money, not money that’s the root of all evil. His home was opened to Jesus and his followers that very day. Choices going forward would look very different.

Ladies many of you have seen lives changed for Christ through the years. We will continue to share stories of redemption. It’s Lenten season and always the time when we remember Jesus sacrifice for us to be: Rescued and Redeemed. We will look closely at that theme in South Dakota. God Bless you!

With love and prayers.
Lavonne West


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