The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax-Collector
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: ‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax-collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax-collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.” But the tax-collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.’
Devotion by Julia Shiver
I sometimes wonder just who I am in this parable. The tax collector or the Pharisee? I know I want to consider myself as the humble person, seeking only to praise God and not myself. I do take great delight in my various roles in the church. And I feel that God has called me to each one – deacon, choir member, council member, search committee. I know that Chris and I are very grateful that we can tithe, especially since we started our own business in 2010.
I know that I am not the “model” Christian. The disciplines of daily Bible reading, meditation, and deliberate prayer are still elusive. I attend worship almost every Sunday. But I find myself distracted by the need to “get things done” while at church, instead of focusing my heart on God. Maybe the answer is to be open to God while going about my various tasks; to be doing all things for the glory of God. As with all things in life, I can only do this with God’s help.
Even as I scurry around in my roles and tasks within the church, help me remember that you are the source of all wisdom, strength, grace and love. Everything I do is in your name. Amen.