Many people feel terribly isolated from their fellow human beings, even though they have people all around them. They are lonely in a crowd.
Zacchaeus the tax collector must have felt the same way. His fellow citizens would have nothing to do with him. They despised Jewish people who collected taxes for the Roman government and made themselves rich in the process. When a tax collector stood in a crowd, he would soon have sore shins from being kicked. Therefore, being short was only one of the reasons Zacchaeus climbed the sycamore tree. Sitting up there by himself, he probably felt estranged and alone. Imagine his excitement, then, when Jesus said, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.”
Jesus was always looking for lonely people. He touched untouchable lepers-men and women who were barred from contact with fellow humans. He talked with despised sinners, showing them they were important.
As His followers, we must be aware of lonely people. Maybe it’s a little boy who just can’t seem to make a friend. Or the woman whose husband makes her feel unwanted. There are mothers and children left by a husband and father to shift for themselves . They need a smile, a kind word, a loving deed, an invitation to dinner. Even the smallest kindness, done in Christlike love, can break the chain of loneliness.