Parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector
9 Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer[a]: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Beware dear Soldier of the trappings of arrogance, for it can creep into that uniform of yours and corrupt your heart and attitude! We do not wear this uniform and associate ourselves with this army because we are better than other people, instead we should wear it as as sign of utter humility, servitude to Christ and as a constant reminder of our mission in this world.
Could our corps halls feel like an exclusive club to outsiders? -This should never be the case! We might become tempted, at times, to puff ourselves up with all of our corps’ accomplishments and fortunes, instead run from such thoughts and temptations! Do not become like the Pharisee in the parable Jesus told – who was so enamored by his own pride and arrogance that those earnestly seeking were criticized and despised.
No, instead fight this war against pride and arrogance as a Soldier of this army! We ought to fall to our knees and repent every time we become prideful of who we are instead of Whose we are. We must recognize and repent every time we aspire to places of position and power out of personal gain and selfish ambition. Pride and arrogance will poison our army if we are not careful; and although we do good in our communities lest we not forget Who our faith is in and for Whom all of these good works are accomplished.
If we as soldiers exchange this true calling of sincere holiness in our lives for earthly recognition and these temporary places of authority the world bestows upon us, we will have lost it all – and our identity as an Army for God.
Jesus despised the hypocrite and the religious zealot who couldn’t see past their own personal needs and desires. Beware dear Soldier of the trappings of arrogance and pride.
Lord, make us humble. May we be mindful of our fellow man – and the hurting world around us. Give us Your heart and eyes – may we ever be on our knees earnestly seeking after you. Holy Spirit, instill in us this servant-heart. Break us of our pride and arrogance. Remove the dross, wipe away the old life. If need be, remove us from places of prominence so that we may be yours and yours alone. Lord, forgive us when we have had a divided heart – you want us all to yourself, and there have been times when we have strayed. May Christ-likeness be our goal as we humbly serve. Amen.
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly[a] with your God.” (Micah 6:8)