And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.”
I once was the pastor of a church in which a dear sister in Christ told me a remarkable story regarding her husband’s conversion to Christ. By the time I arrived at the church, her husband had gone to be with the Lord. After relating his conversion account, she handed me a little gospel tract he had written, recounting his story.
Joe DeBarba immigrated to America in 1903. He had worked in the coal mines in France, and upon traveling to Illinois found employment doing the same. He was raised in a nominal Christian family, but had never heard prayer offered by either parent. He lived a hard, sinful life, and much of his time was spent in the local tavern.
Joe loved baseball. One Sunday, as he was on his way to a game, he saw some people gathered on the street corner. Curious, he went over to listen. He never went to the ball game. The two following Sundays, he did the same thing; he wanted to hear what these people were talking about. Following the meeting on the third Sunday, Joe went home and prayed, “Lord, have mercy on me!” He said, “The room seemed to light up. I knew I was a new creature in Christ.”
On the third day following his conversion, Joe was getting ready to leave home for the mine; he was a mule driver. He said, “As I threw the whip over my shoulder, a voice spoke to me, ‘Joe, what are you going to do?’” Joe said, “I knew it was the voice of God; I had used that whip on my poor mule until his body was scarred all over.”
When he arrived at the mine, Joe walked over to his mule. Putting his arm around the mule, he asked for his forgiveness. “I told him I had been mean to him, and wasn’t going to use a whip on him anymore. I pulled his head to my face and kissed him on the nose.”
As it was with Zacchaeus, so it was with Joe. When Jesus enters one’s life, wonderful changes occur—even in how we treat animals!
Taken from . . .
Renewed by the Spirit: 365 Daily Meditations
by Ralph I. Tilley
copyright © 2016 Ralph I. Tilley
(May be copied for noncommercial purposes,
not to exceed 500 copies.)