Read an Excerpt
I must warn thee in advance.
The words you are about to read may put an end to your life.
It has been written that a useless life is far worse than an early death. If the years of your heartbeat, since you emerged from your mother’s womb, have been poisoned by failure and frustration, heartbreak and discontent, defeat and self-pity, then I say unto you that you should terminate that miserable existence, immediately, and commence the rebuilding of a new life, a new being—one filled with love and pride and achievement and peace of mind.
Not only do I say that you should; I say that you can!
Not only do I say that you can; I say that you will—providing you accept and make use of the priceless legacy I am about to share with you.
My name is Joseph.
Would that I were an accomplished teller of tales, in full command of my proud language, instead of having spent a lifetime as a keeper of ledgers and accounts. Still, despite my many shortcomings, I must record what I know of Zacchaeus Ben Joshua for the benefit of untold generations to come so that they may be guided properly in their search for a better life. His story and, most important, his gift to mankind, must not vanish beneath the desert’s unsympathetic sands along with the dried bones of those of us who knew and loved and learned so much from this special creature of God.
He was orphaned before the age of five.
Other children mocked his misshapen body—a huge head and wide shoulders set upon a round torso from which two spindly legs extended but refused to grow.
He had no schooling. Those precious years of youth had been spent in back-breaking labor, from sunrise to sunset, tilling the soil and picking the fruit on Herod’s vast farms.
And yet, despite all his handicaps, he became the wealthiest man in all of Jericho, eventually acquiring title to more than half of all the irrigated farmland within a half-day’s march of the city.
His home, surrounded by tall palms and date trees, exceeded in size and grandeur what had once been the winter palace of Herod and later, the despised king’s weakling son.
An eminent scholar from Greece, having met him at the height of his career, returned to Athens and announced to his colleagues that he had finally met a man who had conquered the world and was not even aware of his accomplishments.
In his declining years he accepted a position that would have brought scorn and hate upon the head of any other, as it had to those who were his predecessors, but the love and respect of so many of the people, whose lives he had touched and changed for the better, never abated.
Near his end, he was involved in what I am certain was a miracle, although I had never, before, believed in miracles. No one who witnessed that mysterious event has ever been able to explain what they saw in any other terms—and it is the ingredients of this miracle that can and will change your life—as it has for so many others.
Pretend, if you will, that you are hearing my words rather than reading them.
Imagine that you are resting your weary head on my lap, as you may have done long ago, with your parents. This has been a day like all other days, when you have struggled with forces beyond your control to achieve a small allotment of peace and security for yourself and for those who love and depend on you.
Let me stroke away the bruises of this day’s battles while I share, with you, the gold of one man’s wisdom—wisdom that you can apply to how you think and feel and act so that you may be transformed, in time, from a dead and helpless leaf, buffeted by every breeze, into whatever proud manner of human being you desire to become.
Above all, exercise patience—and hear me out. We were brought together, you and I, for some purpose. Who can know God’s plans for us? Who can explain the mystery of why you are reading these words at this particular moment in your life rather than the words of another?
Art thou prepared to step out of that old life and to begin anew?
At this point, is there not little to lose and everything to gain?
As his humble and self-appointed executor, allow me to transmit, to you, the most priceless asset from the estate of Zacchaeus.
What you do with his unusual bequest … is totally up to you.