RISE ABOVE YOUR SHORTCOMINGS: PASTOR MENSA OTABIL, SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 5TH, 2021
SPECIAL SUNDAY SERVICE BY DR. MENSA OTABIL (GENERAL OVERSEER INTERNATIONAL CENTRAL GOSPEL CHURCH (ICGC) CHRIST TEMPLE, ACCRA GHANA)
TOPIC: RISE ABOVE YOUR SHORTCOMINGS.
DATE: 5TH SEPTEMBER, 2021
TEXT: LUKE 19:1-10
Amen and Amen! Let’s rise up together, as we make our DECLARATION OF FRUITFULNESS in this Year of Fruitfulness:
Are you ready? Well say with me:
The Eternal God is our Refuge. He opens Rivers in desolate Heights.The Lord makes the wilderness a Pool of water.
The LORD God is my Sun and Shield; The LORD gives Grace and Glory.
Therefore, I delight myself in Him. Those who are Planted in the House of the LORD shall be Fresh and Flourishing.
Though the Earth be shaken; the Name of the Lord is my Strong Tower. By Faith I affirm that: In Christ alone is my Salvation. In Him I live, and move and have my Being.
It is written: The Righteous are like trees Planted by the waters; bearing Fruits in its Season.
So I boldly declare: As for me, my God has made me Exceedingly Fruitful.
In this Season, my Spirit bears Fruits of Righteousness, my Talents make Way for me. With my hands, I will Plant, I will Build, I will Harvest – Day by Day, Step by Step.
In Jesus’ Name – Amen!
I just want to remind those of you who have not read the Messages on this Series; I indicated that I will be doing a Series on RISING.
That doesn’t mean that would be the Title of the Series. But it means that everything I Preach in this Series would have the word “Arise” or “Rise” or “Rising” in it.
And I started by talking about: “LET GOD ARISE”.
And I indicated that when God arises, His enemies are scattered. They are blown away as smoke in the wind and they melt like wax in fire.
DMC NOTES: We can access the Full Text of this Message on this Link:
And then last week, I spoke about – “RISE UP AND WALK”.
I talked about three (3) People who were commanded to rise and to walk:
- One who had no one to Help him.
- One who had a lot of People to Help him.
- And one who needed just a “Little Help” to be able to rise.
So whether you are one who feels that nobody helps you; or you feel that so many People are trying to help you; or you just need a “Little Help” – The Net effect is that you will Rise up and you would Walk (Amen).
Somebody say: I AM WALKING.
DMC NOTES: We can get to access the Full Text of this Message on this Link:
… Everybody has some form of Shortcoming.
A Shortcoming is something that makes you fall short of Expectation; or fall short of a Standard; or fall short of your own Desires.
Shortcoming can keep you from a big thing that God wants to do in your Life – It can be a Dream, it can be a Vision, it can be a Desire.
And a Shortcoming can make you feel inadequate for the things that God wants you to do.
So today, we are going to learn how to Overcome the Shortcomings; and we are going to look at a Man who had Shortcomings, but tried to rise above them – And his name is Zacheaus, and his Story is in Luke 19:1-10.
But I would be reading Luke 19:1-6 (just for time sake):
1 Then Jesus entered and Passed through Jericho.
2 Now behold, there was a Man named Zacchaeus who was a Chief Tax Collector, and he was rich.
3 And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature.
4 So he ran ahead and climbed up into a Sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to Pass that way.
5 And when Jesus came to the Place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.”
6 So he made haste and came down, and received him Joyfully.
The Story of Zacchaeus sometimes appear almost comical. Because you can imagine the height of the man and his sense of activity, and the whole effort of climbing up, and Jesus seeing him.
And then later on, when you read his whole attitude, Zacchaeus seemed to be a very fun-loving, outgoing Personality and very energetic. He was a very Colourful Character.
Now I am going to use the Story of Zacchaeus, like a Metaphor – For how we RISE ABOVE OUR SHORTCOMINGS.
… And we are going to work through the Steps he took to rise above his Shortcomings.
Zacchaeus lived in Jericho and he was a Chief Tax Officer. He was rich, he was a quick Thinker, he was Active, he was Outgoing, he had a Cheerful Personality. And all that energy was bundled in a small body – Zacchaeus was short.
Interestingly, his name (Zacheaus) means Pure – That is what his name meant ‘Pure’.
So by name he was expected to be Pure. But by his actions he was seen as not being Pure by the Jews and People didn’t have a very Good Consideration of him.
Unlike the three (3) People we spoke about Last week – Who were paralyzed and couldn’t move and needed help; Zacchaeus could move! He could walk, he could run, and he was an Active Person, he was not Paralyzed.
But he had Shortcomings; he had two (2) Main Shortcomings:
- The first one was his REPUTATION.
He had a bad reputation – He was a Chief Tax Collector. Tax collecting is generally a Noble job in current times. Although none of us like Tax Collectors but it is a Noble job.
To be a Tax Collector, you have to be an Accountant sometimes to be able to do that. But to the Jews of Jesus’ time, Tax collecting was not a Good job; he was hated.
And that is why Zacchaeus had a Reputational Problem – People didn’t like him. And that was a Shortcoming for him – We will find out soon!
Because Tax Collectors in the days of Jesus were Contractors who worked for the Roman’s Government. And the Roman’s Government was oppressing the Jewish People. And the Tax Collectors were Picked among the Jews;
And normally, they would be given a quota of Taxes they must collect. If you collect Tax in a neighborhood and you were told: ‘You must collect so much Taxes!’
Now the Tax Collectors, in order to make more money had to collect the quota and then collect beyond the quota because everything above the quota is for the Tax Collector.
So People didn’t like them, because they squeezed money out of the Jews; and that is what Zacheaus was doing.
Actually, he was a Chief Tax Collector, not just a Tax Collector.
That means that he had employed other People in various locations who went out – Harass People, collect Taxes from them and he was sitting on top of this Big Pyramid.
And because of that, his reputation was very Low. People didn’t like him. And when People don’t like you in that Community, you may go ahead and enjoy your money.
But there comes a time when reputation may go against you.
- His Second Shortcoming was his STATURE.
So you had a Problem with his Reputation, he had a Problem with his Stature – He was limited in height, he was not a tall Person.
And he couldn’t be blamed for his height. He didn’t make himself – He was born that way. Probably, his parents were short.
So, He inherited that Limitation.
His Reputation as a Tax Collector, he didn’t inherit – He chose it! His stature as Short, was inherited.
What Does That Mean?
Sometimes Shortcomings are inherited – You were just born that way; that is who you are. And sometimes it is as a result of Choices you made.
So, whether it is Choices you made or who you are (we were just born that way). It is still a Shortcoming.
And ordinarily, when we look at Zacchaeus, the Bible calls him a Rich Person – So it means that he had found a way to manage his Shortcomings.
People didn’t like him, that didn’t bother him. He still moved on and made money. He had limited height, it didn’t bother him. You don’t need height to collect money.
… So he did well, his Shortcomings didn’t seem like Shortcomings.
Then one day, all of those things that he had managed so well, he had managed to handle so well in his life, came against him. Because he heard of Jesus and they wanted to see Jesus.
The Passage says he sought to see who Jesus was.
Because sometimes you know, you can be okay with the Shortcomings, but you can manage it because you can manage it well.
Probably maybe your Shortcoming is:
You don’t speak Good English, you can manage it well – If everybody you trade with do not speak Good English. Or you just don’t need English to trade. Until the day when you need English to trade.
Or you have some other Shortcomings that you are able to manage well. Until something comes up where you realised you can’t manage it.
And for Zacheaus, that they came – When Jesus came to town; and he sought to see Jesus.
Something interesting about Zacheaus is that: Although the Man doesn’t have a Good Reputation (People don’t like him); he seems like a crook, he seems like somebody who is just taking advantage of People.
Deep inside his heart, he had the love of God, he had a Spiritual desire. And it seems like the Spiritual Desire was a very Big Desire of his!
You know there are People who can seems very rough on the outside, but deep inside them they have a deep hunger for God – And that is who Zacheaus was. He had a deep hunger for God which Nobody knew.
As a matter of fact, he is a Person who loves God. Although he seemed to love Money more than God. He seems not to care about anyone until Jesus came that way. And then his true desires showed up and he sought to see where Jesus was.
… That is when he had the Challenges:
I. The first challenge he had was a Hostile Crowd.
The crowd was hostile to him, they disliked his Reputation, they didn’t like him mingling with them.
And so if he is going to be with that crowd – People say: “Zacheaus, you don’t belong here, you are a bad Man. You are not supposed to be in this crowd.”
It is almost like when some People go to Church and People ask: Are you in Church? How did you come to this Church? Because People think you don’t belong to Church.
That is what they thought about Zacheaus – He doesn’t belong to the ‘Jesus Crowd’ – That is his first Shortcoming!
How do you survive in a crowd when the crowd is hostile against you? How do you survive in a Place where People don’t like you? How do you survive in an Office where People dislike you? How do you survive when the crowd is hostile?
Because sooner or later, some of us find ourselves in Places where People don’t like us for whatever reason.
… So that is the first thing – The crowd is hostile because of his Reputation.
II. Secondly, it is the Hindering Crowd.
How did they hinder him? They were taller than him! Everybody seemed to be taller than him; they stood in his way and hindered him from seeing Jesus.
So the crowd is hostile to him and the crowd is hindering him.
Sometimes we feel that way; Sometimes we feel we are Strong, Sometimes we feel we are Active, Sometimes we feel we have Gifts, Sometimes we feel we have Talents.
Everything seems to be going on for us.
And then you get into another Season in your Life where your Shortcoming is kicking – Hostility, Hinderance!
So how do you feel with it? How does Zacheaus deal with this?
Well, he understood his Shortness; but he didn’t allow his Shortness to shorten him.
Because my friends, sooner or later, you are going to have a Dream. And that Dream is going to make all your Shortcomings appear!
You are going to be invited in a Boardroom, and then you will realise you are not Prepared – Your English Language is not Good.
You are going to be invited in a Place; and then you realised your Education doesn’t match up. You are supposed to submit a Report, and you don’t know how to write a Report.
You are supposed to do something great, and then you realised: ‘I don’t have what it takes.’
For some of us, our Big desire is: “I want to live for God like Zacchaeus”.
Other People would say: I want to have a Great Marriage or I want to get Married or I want to Set Up a Business or I want to be Financially Independent; or I just want to be happy – These are Simple Desires.
But these Desires, like Zaccheaus’ desire to see Jesus, can sometimes be very difficult to achieve. Simply because your Shortcoming will come against it.
Sometimes, you want to live for God, but you have a lot of Past and Current Entanglements.
… And I hope you know what I mean by Entanglements?
I. All kind of things – Relationship and Entanglements are making it difficult for you to live for God.
So that is your Shortcoming.
II. Your Past Associations: Maybe a Past boyfriend, a Past girlfriend Relationship. You are in Entanglements and they are hindering me from seeing God.
That is your shortcoming.
III. Or maybe Probably want to have a happy Marriage but you have a bad temper; and get angry at People.
So that is a shortcoming – And it is ending your Marriage.
IV. Or maybe you want to get Married but you are not Physically attractive. People don’t find you attractive and you wonder ‘if somebody would ever find me Good enough to marry me.’
V. Or maybe you want to Set Up a business, but you have limited resources. Or you want to be happy in Life, but you are just making bad Choices everyday.
Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus, but he was in the wrong Place. The crowd didn’t like him and he was short. And how does he see Jesus?
How do you fulfill the desire of yours when you are in the wrong crowd; in the wrong Place and there is hostility all around you?
So let’s see how Zacchaeus overcame his shortcomings – I love this guy. I truly do! Jesus also loved him. So you better love him.
- First thing you Notice is that he ran ahead.
He ran ahead of the criticizing crowd, he ran ahead of the hostile crowd – He didn’t stay where People wanted him to stay.
If you stay where the crowd wants you to be, they will keep you in the Place that they designed for you.RISE ABOVE YOUR SHORTCOMINGS: PASTOR MENSA OTABIL, SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 12TH, 2021 Click To Tweet
… That is the first thing he did!
Running ahead of the Crowd means he left the crowd; but he is still Short.
You have left the crowd, you have solved one Problem of hostility, you have distanced yourself from the crowd – Now Nobody is going to be Pushing you around: Hey, you don’t belong here!
… He’s gone ahead, but he is still Short.
So he did something else:
- He Climbed the Tree.
To solve the height Problem, he had to look for something he didn’t have. He had to be creative, he had to use an opportunity that was ahead of him to get high; and so he rose up and got to the Top of the tree. And Jesus Passed by!
It is very interesting, because Zacchaeus had anticipated where Jesus was going to be, and chose the right tree in the Path of Jesus and was waiting for the crowd to catch up with him.
And when Jesus got to where Zacchaeus was, Jesus looked up. He didn’t look down on him, he looked up
Zacchaeus had Positioned himself in a way that he will be Visible and available to Jesus. And he did that by running ahead and climbing up – Running ahead, Climbing up!
I want to say to Somebody: It is time for you to Run ahead and Climb Up – Amen.
Don’t go backward, don’t abandon the dream, don’t stop becoming the Person God wants you to be. You have got to run ahead and you have got to climb up.
Somebody say: I am running ahead and I am Climbing up!
So he ran ahead and he climbed up; he found a Sycamore tree.
… Maybe it is time you find your own Sycamore tree.
Sycamore tree is a very interesting tree – It is broad, it is a heavy three and it can grow quite high – about fifteen (15) meters. It is large with Strong branches. It has all these things but one Good thing about the Sycamore tree is that its branches reach down.
… They are trees that are Strong, but their branches are too high, you can’t reach up to it.
But the Sycamore tree branches reach down; they go down.
So, they are at the Point where Zacchaeus can reach it – They are not too high for him.
I believe for every situation in our lives, for every Shortcoming, for every Limitation – Whatever the Limitation is: it could be a Spiritual Shortcoming, it could be your Temper, it could be Education, it could be Choices you made. It could just be something you were born with.
For every Shortcoming, there is a Sycamore tree that God will put in your way – Amen.
1 Corinthians 10:13 put it this way: No Temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to Man; but God is Faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the Temptation will also make the Way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
… God will make a way of escape. So you can be Prepared.
That is what he did for Zacchaeus: his height didn’t Change, his Reputation didn’t Change; but God gave him a way of escape. And he ran ahead, found the way of escape and used the way of escape.
… And that way of escape was his Sycamore Tree.
No matter what your Shortcomings are – It could be Reputation, it could be Stature, or it could be a Physical look, it could be Academic, it could be Financial; listen to me, God will cause you to find a Solution – Amen.
Because with every difficulty He Provides a way of escape – Our Sycamore Tree.
The Good Thing about the Sycamore tree is that it was very common (It was not a rare tree).
Where Zacchaeus was, it was common, it was available, it was accessible.
Because you know, sometimes something is common, is available, but it is not accessible – You cannot take advantage of it.
But because the branches were Low, Zacchaeus could climb it.
Even short Zacchaeus found something that was Purpose-fit for him and then it lifted him up above the crowd, above the People who despised his Reputation, above People who despise his height. And when he went there, Jesus saw him.
The Sycamore tree is what I called the Sufficiency of God’s Grace for us.
… The sufficiency of God’s Grace for us!
There is always Grace available for your Shortcomings – Where Shortcomings abound Grace “Much More” abounds!
In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul talks about the thorn In the flesh that he had. That was a hindrance to him. And he says he Prayed about this thorn in the flesh three (3) times.
And in 2 Corinthians 12:9 Jesus said to him: And He said to me, “My Grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made Perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my Infirmities, that the Power of Christ may rest upon me.
There is something about your weakness that activates the Grace of God; so that while you are weak God’s Strength steps in. Because God is going to give a way of escape.
But don’t just watch the way of escape; you have to run ahead to meet it. And you have to climb up! You have to use it.
Because of what Jesus said to Paul, he said in 2 Corinthians 12:10 – Therefore I take Pleasure in Infirmities, in reproaches, in Needs, in Persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am Strong.
I love that: When I am weak then I am Strong.
For every weakness of yours, God has an appointed Strength for you. For every Place of weakness you have, God has an appointed Strength for you.
That is what I call your Sycamore Tree.
You may not have it Naturally, but God will make it available to you – It could be a Person that God Places in your Life, it could be an opportunity that God opens for you, it could be a word that inspires you.
Maybe this Message that you are listening to (or reading on the Label of DMC) is your Sycamore Tree – To help you to rise up to the Place God wants you to be.
The Sycamore Tree deals with your Shortcomings, but the Sycamore tree doesn’t solve the Problem.
That is a Good thing – It doesn’t solve any Problem, it only gives you a way out of the Problem. But it doesn’t solve the Problem.
And I like how the Story of Zacchaeus Ends – He met Jesus!
What he had desired right from the beginning. He wanted to see Jesus, and he met Jesus – His hindrances, Shortcomings didn’t stop him. He met Jesus!
Then when he met Jesus, Jesus said to him: “Come down from the Sycamore tree”.
What is Jesus saying? – Jesus says: He use this to get to me, now I am here to be all that you Need.
When you have him, He becomes the Completion, the Perfection.
The Lord knows every Needs of your heart – When you meet Jesus, you find your heart Desires.
… So what did we learn today?
We learned from Zacchaeus that sometimes there are Shortcomings – It could be Reputational, it could be Stature or it could be Inherited, it could be Chosen but whatever it is that is keeping you from getting to the Place where God wants you to get to; we can rise above every Shortcomings in our lives because God always makes a way of escape.
And when He gives you the way of escape, you don’t go back to your Past; you run ahead and you climb up.
May the Lord cause you to run ahead and to climb up: Above every limitations, above every Shortcomings, above everything that wants to hold you down – Amen.
You will rise and you will Overcome – Amen.
Somebody say: I AM RISING.
Father we Pray this morning for every Child of Yours who feels in one way or the other like Zacchaeus – with a Shortcoming, not knowing how to manage their Shortcoming;
Today I Pray Lord, as you did for Apostle Paul; You will do for each and everyone of us and Your Grace will be sufficient for us.
That You would show us the Person, You would show us the Path, You would show us the opportunity – Whatever is needed for us to get to the Place that You have called us to get to.
Open our eyes to see it and help us Lord never to sit in a Place of hostility and the Place of rejection; but to rise above it and do Your Will, and to fulfill Your Vision.
In Jesus’ Name Amen and Amen!
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