“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”What or who is the center of your universe?Luke 18:10-14
In this parable Jesus told in Luke 18, we see two men contrasted by Jesus in their approach to God. Now look closely at the words of the pharisee. Who is the center of his universe?
He says that he thanks God, but his prayer is focused on what he has to offer to God? In verse nine Jesus says that he is like those “who trusted in themselves that they were righteous…”
Have you ever told God how faithful you are – your good works, your financial giving compared to most other people, your faithfulness in church attendance?
Now, look at the second man – the tax collector. He is not eloquent, but his plain-spoken prayer is concise. He cries out to God. He recognizes the distance between his life and God’s standard. He repents and asks God for mercy.
And, in the end, this man is reconciled to God.