Jesus has a way of really getting to the heart of things doesn’t He. In this week’s Adventure in the Parables we look at what Jesus tells us about the difference between the haughty and contrite heart.
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “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.” Luke 18:9-14
This Parable Lesson has a great deal of relevance today. We have individuals who brag about themselves caring little for those around them except when it suits their need for fulfilment. This is a false feeling because it is only temporary. In the Parable, Jesus teaches of one who claims He is right with God to God in prayer, while in a partially seclude area there is another who humbles himself to God in prayer. The first man is actually trying to convince himself that he is right with God through his actions and conducting himself according to the Law of Moses. The tax collector knows his heart is in the world but wants to change so he humbles himself asking for forgiveness and help to make himself right with God, not through actions but a change in heart.
It all boils down to a heart matter. Is your heart so full of yourself that you cannot see the onlookers who only see the braggart? Or is your heart hurting because you know that you are not right even when you try to do the right thing and you silently give yourself in humble adoration to God.
I discussed this partially in a previous post ( Sharing Faith) but it was not seen by many due to the timing of release. Sometimes we are chosen to do the corporate prayer in an open setting. That is not the time to put yourself on show so others see your faith. It is a time to share with the congregation the heart, value, and mission of the church. If you pray in haughtiness, your prayer is overrun by those whose hearts are humbled. If your prayer is humble, then it creates an atmosphere that the Body of Christ should have.
Now this Parable has more connotations than just prayer, it is our daily walk. God wants us to be a people who walk with Him daily but at the same time not to brag or accept accolades for things that we do for the Kingdom. Since everything is posted on social media we have more people who brag on themselves and look for the amount “likes” or other reactions that we feed our emotional responses to.
When we write or see something on social media that conduces a heart reaction that convicts, causes sadness, or does not suit our materialist heart hearth, it is either ignored or gives a temporary notion of “I hope someone is doing something about this” reaction. I tell you this, God created us to do something about the pain in the world so react with some kind of positive action do not just be dormant. But make sure it is something that is right with the teachings of God, not the manipulated teachings of man.
Be cautious what you do or say that it is not taken in such a way that you are like the Pharisee. Be like the tax collector because that is who we are; humble and contrite, doing things for God’s Kingdom giving all Glory and honor to Him.
But please note this: It is ok to say thank you and accept things but give the portion that is God’s to Him because He is the one who gave you the means to accomplish great things.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, have a blessed day wherever this finds you. Do something for others today (and every day) and in humility, give it to God. God will bless you in more ways than we can honestly fathom.
In God’s Love through His Grace and Mercy, Have a great and blessed day.