Encountering Christ life-changing experience

One time my sister Susie and I saw Harry Truman.

We were in grade school and my parents attended a church convention in Kansas City, Mo. We stayed at the Muehlebach Hotel in downtown Kansas City. The day after we checked in, the news spread throughout the hotel that former President Harry Truman was attending a meeting there.

Word came in the afternoon that soon President Truman would be leaving the hotel. Susie and I were in the lobby and asked the desk clerk which exit the president would be using. That seems unusual in today’s world but this was long before the days of terrorist attacks, tight security and metal detectors. Besides, I suppose the desk clerk thought there would be little risk in telling two young girls in grade school.

The man at the desk pointed towards the elevator door. We took our stations in front and kept watch. Officials roped off an area and with all those tall adults gathering behind us, Susie and I had a perfect view of the elevator doors.

Then the elevator doors opened and out walked President Truman. We thought, “He really is short.”

We watched him stop only inches away from us, walk down the hall and out the other door. Our biggest news when we went back home was that we had seen a former president.

What do you suppose went though the mind of Zacchaeus when he heard that the man who raised the dead and healed the sick was coming to town? It was out of curiosity that he wanted to see Jesus. He had heard all about Jesus because news spread of his miracles. Being a tax collector with authority behind him was one thing, but he could not contend for equal prominence when it came to maneuvering in the midst of the crowd that was trying to see Jesus.

The Bible records Zacchaeus’ solution.

“And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him; for He was to pass that way.” (Luke 19:4) Because he was short, a position from high in the tree would give Zacchaeus a chance to see. He watched as Jesus entered the city surrounded by hundreds. Zacchaeus watched as Jesus reached out and touched those around him. Zacchaeus watched as Jesus made his way through the crowd and down the city streets.

Then something miraculous happened … when Jesus reached the tree where Zacchaeus was sitting, Jesus stopped, looked up at him and said to him: “Zacchaeus come down. For today I am going to eat at your house!”

Jesus called Zacchaeus to Him and Zacchaeus had a meeting with Jesus that changed his life. Zacchaeus repented and decided to give half of all his possessions to the poor. He decided to restore the money four-fold to those he had cheated.

It was a temporary thrill for Susie and me to see President Truman, but it did not change my life in any way. But years ago when I was a little girl, I also had an encounter with Christ that changed my life … just like Zacchaeus did. I have never been the same since and although that was years ago, that relationship is still the most vital part of my entire existence.

Christ wants to have a relationship with each one of us. It does not matter — adult or little child, famous or infamous, wealthy or poor, educated or uneducated whether we have status in the world or not — Christ calls us each one of us to Him and we are all precious in His eyes.

Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: