There are certain "todays" that matter more than others.
In sports, in history, in government, the greatness of great men and women shines on the "todays" that matter.
Same with us.
There was the "today" that I promised to give and commit and sacrifice everything for my wife more than 13 years ago now.
There was the "today" that I promised to uphold God's Word and its teachings in my public proclamation of them as I was ordained into the public ministry nearly 10 years ago.
There were the four "todays" when I became God's representative to show each of my children what their heavenly father is like.
But none of them, as big as they are - none of them comes close to the "Today" we see in our text, Luke 19.
Look especially at Luke 19:8-9: "Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.'"
Today, salvation has come to this house. That's a big day.
You see, this day could have been like any other for Zacchaeus - but some things went into making it special. He was a sinner. He knew it. The people around him knew it; they even talked about it because he was worse than most. In their eyes, he had betrayed his countrymen and his dignity for the sake of money.
As rich as he was, that didn't fix the problems going on in his heart. He had cash, but have you ever had that empty feeling, when things seem to be going well on the outside, but you just don't feel it? When the guilt or disappointment put a damper on all the things that seem to be going right?
Zacchaeus had a problem. It was called guilt. It was called sin. He had to live with himself with the way he had been living.
Just like you do.
You know what people say about you. Or maybe worse, you know what they would say if they knew everything you've thought and said and done.
If you're human, you've had to deal with your conscience from time to time. And that's a good thing. That's the kind of thing that drives you up a tree, which in Zacchaeus' case was exactly what he needed.
Zacchaeus was looking for answers. He was looking for someone to save him from himself. He was looking for Jesus.
This guy is sounding more and more familiar, isn't he? That's why you're reading this, isn't it? You wanted to see Jesus, right?
Well, Today is your day. Today is your opportunity to see Jesus.
Now, when Zacchaeus climbed that tree, I'm sure he figured that there was no likely way that Jesus would want him. It didn't make sense that Jesus would love him. No one else did. But something drove him up that tree. He put aside his pride and his position and all the reasons not to look to Jesus and he ran ahead of the crowd and climbed the tree.
And that made all the difference. Jesus called to him. Jesus chose to spend time with him. Jesus loved him.
Today was the day for Zacchaeus. And today is the day for you - as Jesus calls you through his word, inviting you to church. Today is Jesus saying, "I want to spend time in your house."
What would have happened if Zacchaeus would have been "too busy" that day?
That day would have been very different. Now think about this: Today is your opportunity to see Jesus, the one who came to seek and to save what was lost.
Open your Bibles and see him, and celebrate that he loves you enough to die for you, even when you don't deserve it. That's the difference today can make in your heart.
Jonathan Scharf is pastor of Abiding Grace Lutheran Church in Covington. Full sermons and more information can be found at www.abidinggrace.com.