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  • Writer's pictureJoni Topper

Encounters with Greatness

For ten years my family lived three miles down a dirt road off the highway between two small towns. My son wanted a classmate to come spend the weekend with us. His friend's mom said yes but she would need to come check out where we lived first. This seemed odd to me, but I realized that since we lived so far from town it was a responsible action from a parent. After all, she did not really know us well.

Little did I know this child was the grandson of a very wealthy man. He owned a football team. The family took precautions that most people never have to consider during their entire life much less their daily life. To us he was just one of the kids from school. Small town kids have the advantage of knowing everyone in their class. I worked in Austin during these years and did not realize my son’s friend was the child of a celebrity.

Our home for the last thirty-five years has been Johnson City Texas, the hometown of President Lyndon B. Johnson. For years I was honored to sing at an event sponsored by the National Park Service. One year as I stood singing Christmas carols by the fireside in a historic log home, the back door opened. Lady Bird Johnson entered to listen to the music. She even sang along. To my surprise, there was a person of great notoriety right there in my little world.

A friend who cleaned at our church had a teenage daughter who often helped. Entering the church on cleaning day I would hear her beautiful voice singing as she worked. Her shy nature kept her from singing publicly. However, she submitted a video in a competition and was chosen to sing at a huge concert in Houston with Carrie Underwood. We have had so much fun sharing her exciting experience. Interacting with extraordinary talent is fun.

Having a brush with great people is nice. Being noticed by someone whose opinion you value is good. We tend to feel important when we are privileged to interact with famous or notable personalities. However, no personality, no event, no moment in time will ever compare with a single encounter with the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Deuteronomy 10:14, 17 NIV reads, “To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes”. I'm glad God values each of us equally and so thankful He sent His one and only son Jesus to pay the penalty for our sins. This defines an encounter that goes far beyond greatness.

Lady Bird Johnson listens

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