Day 32’s post from the BigRead13 can be found here.
9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 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. 12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ 13 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!’ 14 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.”
Today we focus on Luke 18:9-14, in which Jesus tells us that to be truly great we must be truly humble. We have an excerpt, too, from The Screwtape Letters, in which Screwtape reminds his nephew that once people have realised that they are humble, they pretty soon stop being so.
I think old Screwtape had a point, much as it galls me to agree with a demon. There are all too many people who point out how humble they are – when to be truly humble, you’d let your acts speak for themselves, and not need to explain yourself.
Funnily enough, I was talking to a friend the other day about this. We talked about those who are “all mouth and no trousers”. Those who you expect could do a lot more good if they stopped wasting time telling you how good they were. Those who are only humble when someone they want to impress is watching.
Lord, let me be like the tax collector. Let me think on my sins, and pray that God will forgive them in his grace. Let me not be proud of what I do to the exclusion of doing it well. And let God’s grace come down upon us all. Amen.