Look, Lord! . . . If I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount. (Luke 19:8)

DRAMATIC EVENTS can change lives forever. Some family friends found this out in a negative way when their oldest son was killed in a car accident. One decision to not wear a seatbelt changed the course of this family, and those of us who knew them, forever. As I grieved with the family, I was asked to promise to always wear my seatbelt. Though a seemingly insignificant promise, this is something I remember and think about every time I get into my vehicle.

However, dramatic events don’t need to be negative in order to be life changing. For a short man in Jerusalem, his life-changing event was Jesus wanting to spend time with him. He needed to know that he was important and valued. In a society where his profession was looked down upon, Jesus’ counter-cultural action caused Zacchaeus to reevaluate his life.

This event not only left Zacchaeus in a state of reevaluation, but the encounter he had with Jesus challenged him to make actual life changes as well. Taking it a step further, he made this change public by promising to repay anyone he had wronged.

Zacchaeus’s life is a great example of someone who encountered Jesus in a meaningful way. He didn’t just eat with Jesus the man; he ate with Jesus the Son of God, which left his life forever changed.

Honestly assess how you have let your encounter with Jesus change your life.

Traver Paul Butcher, a PhD candidate in international psychology and missions coach, has a passion for helping individuals encounter God in international and cross-cultural experiences.