By Judy Brandon: Local columnist
Several years ago I attended a National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., where President George Bush spoke. But he was not the first president I saw. Once, my sister Susie and I saw Harry Truman.
During grade-school years, we went with our parents to a church convention in Kansas City, Mo. We stayed at an old famous hotel that was the designated headquarters for the convention and also the meeting place for several other organizations.
On the second day, the news spread that former President Truman was attending a meeting there and he would be leaving about 2 that afternoon. Susie and I asked the desk clerk which exit the president would be using. Remember, this was long before terrorist attacks and tight security. I suppose the desk clerk thought there was little risk in telling two young girls.
The man pointed to the elevator that Truman would be using. So we stationed ourselves to keep watch. Others came, the crowd grew and the area was roped off. Our view was perfect.
Minutes later the elevator doors opened. Out walked President Truman. We thought, “He really is short!” He stopped within reach of us, and then walked down the hall and out a door. When we went back home, our biggest news was that we had seen a former president of the United States.
There is a story in the Bible about a little short man who wanted to get a look at Jesus. He had heard about him no doubt, healing the sick and raising the dead. Of course he wanted to see Jesus. But Zacchaeus had no status with the townspeople. He was a tax collector, and his reputation was less than stellar. He could push way around when it came to taxes, but he was nothing in a crowd of people eager to see Jesus.
Yet, something caused him to want to see Jesus. The Bible records the story: “And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him; for He was to pass that way” (Luke 19:4).
He headed up the tree to get a good look, and watched from high in the tree as Jesus, surrounded by hundreds of people, made his way down the city streets.
Then it happened. When Jesus reached the tree where Zacchaeus was sitting, he stopped, looked up at him and said to him: “Zacchaeus come down. For today I am going to eat at your house!” Jesus was going home with Zacchaeus to eat dinner. Out of all the people, Christ chose him — that little guy who had made so many people’s lives miserable.
How thrilled Zacchaeus must have been. No doubt he scurried down out of the tree and Jesus went home with him. The encounter changed his life and he was never the same again. He even gave back the money – and more — he had dishonestly collected.
Susie and I were not important enough to have a personal encounter with President Truman. It was only a temporary thrill, and it did not change my life. But years ago, I did have an encounter with Christ that changed my life … just like Zacchaeus did. I was never the same thereafter, and although it has been years since that time, that relationship is still the most vital part of my entire existence.
We all are valuable to Christ, and he calls for each of us, just like he called me and just like he called Zacchaeus. We just have to answer.
Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org