Luke 19:4-9 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount." Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. NIV
When people started muttering about Jesus saying that he was going to Zaccheus' house, Zaccheus defended himself to Jesus, saying he had given to the poor and that he had never cheated anyone knowingly. Was this why Jesus noticed him? No! Jesus noticed him because he was up a tree and when he called him down out of the tree Zaccheus received him "joyfully". Jesus called him a 'son of Abraham' not because he was a direct descendant of Abraham but because of his believing!
Galatians 3:6-7 So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham.It was Zaccheus' believing that obtained his wholeness. We are made whole by believing not our works. It is nice to give to the poor and do good things, but that is not what God is looking for. We really please God by believing. If you want to check out where your believing is there is a simple test. Where do you turn for help? In Mark we see Jesus Christ talking about the poor when he says:
Mark 14:7 "For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have me. " NASBUntil we get to the place where we get 'up a tree' with God, we cannot see what we really want to see. With humility and joyful thankfulness we have access to God through His son just by believing. With believing our spiritual vision can give us the clear picture of the throne room of God where we can go boldly, believingly and with confidence any time we want.
Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor (Link-ptochos) in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.