One day, Jesus told a story about two people whom His followers could easily picture – a Pharisee and a Tax Collector. From their own culture, the listeners quickly assumed that the Pharisee would be the hero, and the Tax Collector the villain. But as Jesus told the story about how each of these two prayed at the Temple, the plot thickened.
The Pharisee, even though he did some good things, was proud and self-righteous. The Tax Collector, who by his occupation was a cheat, was bathed in humility. (The detailed story in Luke 18 is a good read.)
After the retelling of this story, the folks who sat down to create the Spark Story Bible for children offered this summary:
Jesus explained the lesson in his story. “Prayer is not a time to brag or be proud. God sees past what people think and say about you. God knows what is in your heart. Prayer is a time to talk with God and ask for help.”
A simple lesson for a very special act.
Dear God, take me as I am. Let me admit how much I need Your grace and forgiveness. Mold and make me more into the image of Jesus, who loved and cared, and taught us to depend on Your love and care. Amen.