Emily Belle Freeman



Where Is Your Sycomore Tree?

Luke 16:13 - Luke 20:18

Luke, chapter 19, tells the story of a man named Zacchaeus who hoped to see Jesus when He passed through Jericho.

The scriptures tell us that this man held a high position and was quite rich. However, notwithstanding these things, he was not able to see the Savior when He passed by because of the crowd.  Zacchaeus was not about to let the circumstances surrounding him impede his chance to see who the Savior was.

He ran ahead and climbed up into a sycomore tree for a better view.

There he waited and watched for the Lord to come near.  “And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.  And he made haste, and came down, and received Him joyfully.” (Luke 19:5-6)

How many of us have ever found ourselves in a similar situation?

We live in a world that moves at a very fast pace.  With email, cell phones and FedEx, our lives are never still.  We work longer hours with shorter deadlines.  Success today has become more than holding an important position or acquiring wealth, we want the most for our children, our families and ourselves.  Often this means filling our schedules and every spare moment with more and more of what we hope will bring us joy.

Somewhere amidst the press of all of these demands, we try to make room for the Savior.

But are we wise enough to take the time and remove ourselves to a place where we can sit apart from the daily grind and allow Him a place in our lives?  Walking away for even a moment can help us receive needed counsel from the Lord.

Zacchaeus was able to focus on the Savior once he climbed into the sycomore tree.

Where is your sycomore tree?

Think of a place where you can go just for a moment to allow yourself to focus on the Lord.

Perhaps sometime this week you could spend a few minutes there and take the time to prioritize what is most important in your life. Consider the direction that the Savior gave Zacchaeus, “To day I must abide at thy house.” (Luke 19:5)  That guidance is just as important for each one of us.  The Savior’s spirit must abide in our homes every day, but it is up to us to decide how we will invite Him in.

The Savior did not suggest that Zacchaeus should stay in that place where he had discovered the Lord…there in the Sycomore tree…

He told Zacchaeus to come down, to come back into the press and then follow the direction He had given.

Likewise, we cannot ignore the pressures that surround us.

Being wise enough to remove ourselves for a short time to focus on the Savior will give us the opportunity to move forward with determination in the direction that we need to go.  Then we need to come back to our everyday life with a resolution to follow the guidance we are given.

The scriptures tell us that Zacchaeus was told to “make haste” (Luke 19:5) as he prepared for the Lord, and he did.  Once he had come down there was an urgency, a higher level of priority given to this task than to any other task he might have had.  Because of his preparation he was able to receive the Savior joyfully.

Joseph Smith once said, “Seek to know God in your closets.” (DHC, vol. 5, p. 31.)

Did you know that next to the fireplace in the master bedroom of Joseph and Emma’s home in Nauvoo there is a closet?  If you peak just inside the door of this small closet there is ladder that leads up to a tiny alcove.  The secret haven at the top of the ladder is just large enough for one person to sit comfortably.  It was a quiet place where Joseph could go and ponder.  I wonder how many conversations between Joseph and the Lord took place there.

It seems that even Joseph knew the importance of finding a special place where he could escape to find a quiet moment with the Lord.

Today you might not have the opportunity to sit in a tree or climb a ladder into a hidden alcove, but set aside some time to find your own secret haven.  Spend a moment there to ponder.

Sometimes reaching higher can fill the longing deep within our hearts.

Let that secret haven become your sycomore tree.

Go there to seek the Lord, then make haste to prepare and receive Him joyfully.






Emily Freeman