Zacchaeus was a wee little man, a wee little man was he.
Maybe you went to a Bible school or Sunday school once and you sang this song. Zacchaeus was, or course, a character in the Bible who came upon Jesus and had a big transformation in his life. He was, by occupation, a chief of tax collectors. For those unfamiliar with the climate back then, tax collectors were held in even more contempt than in modern America. Back then, the Roman government, which was ruling the Judean “Protectorate”, demanded a certain amount of tax from each subject. They hired indigenous people to collect those taxes, but they did not concern themselves with the methods used. Consequently, tax collectors were know to inflate tax bills and pocket the difference. Everyone knew that most collectors were quite greedy and dishonest, but there was nothing that could be done about it. They were so hated, that anyone who was really contemptible would be called a tax collector.
Zacchaeus wasn’t a tax collector. He was a chief of collectors. He didn’t personally rip people off. He only managed people who ripped off others. Nevertheless, he found himself derided by the people and gripped with guilt. He heard that Jesus was a man who released people from guilt. So he wanted to see him badly. That’s why he climbed a tree so he could see over the crowd and get a glimpse of Jesus. Jesus saw him and arranged to stay with him. The result of the truth that Jesus told Zacchaeus is that Zacchaeus pledged to undo any wrongs he had committed in his tax dealings.
Bill Gates is also a man of not immense stature. He is also a manager of people who create a different kind of financial obligation. This is the team of Microsoft. For decades, the Microsoft team has continued to hold millions, perhaps billions, of people hostage with Windows. Bill has had quite a run selling overpriced and badly working operating systems. Now he has come to a conclusion that he should give half of his money away to charities. Me thinks that there is a parallel here. But, Bill is not looking to find forgiveness from Jesus, or even God, if there is one. He seeks to find redemption of his public image, to be considered a good person who does good works. Hey, Bill, I have news for you. Half of the reason I’m on the verge of poverty is because of all the time and money I’ve had to waste trying to get any production done on the computers that your operating systems have turned into all-consuming beasts. Yes, the software is overpriced. That’s not because of the price tag, though (although in part). It’s because, every time there is finally an improvement that means
I might finally be able to do something productive, I have to spend hours or days trying to figure out how to configure the system. Then, just when I get everything working well, along comes one of those insidious “automatic updates” and messes everything up, so that I can start over. It’s been so many years since I started most of my projects that most of them are long forgotten or are now beyond the scope of what I have time for anymore.
Bill, maybe, if you want to give back, you should give back to the people you jipped. Or, maybe we would just be satisfied if you just came clean, told us all that, yeah, you bilked us, and that the whole Windows was a debacle. Sure, it works pretty good now. But, it’s twenty years later, and the best years of most of us are gone. I guess I should have just spent all of those years having a life and waiting for the day when the computer was actually something that could help me. Why, oh why, did I not buy a Selectric?