The Tax Collector

Read:  Luke 18:9-14

Key verses: Luke 18:13-14

This passage reminds me of a discussion that I had once with a friend named Mike. Mike is an atheist, but he asked me once, “If God exists, why wouldn’t I go to heaven? I’m a good man.” He then went on to list all of the good things that he has done for others. What the tax collector realized that Mike and the Pharisee didn’t was that he was a sinner and he came before God taking the posture of a sinner, an undeserving servant.

We hear so much talk today about what we deserve. “Have a glass of wine! You deserve it!” “Buy a new car! You deserve it!” And that is the attitude that the Pharisee used to approach God. “Give me Your blessing, Lord! I deserve it!”

We are all sinners and we all fall short of God’s glory. We have to recognize that when we approach God. We can’t go to Him and tell Him what we deserve. We don’t deserve anything.

Heaven and God’s blessing aren’t something that we can earn. They are gifts freely given by a God who loves us so much that He died for us. When you think about that why would you go before Him in humility? He gave you a gift that you can’t beat. There is no way that you can ever repay Him. He gave you Himself.

So let us be a little more like the tax collector and a little less like the Pharisee.


Be merciful to me! I am a sinner and undeserving of your grace and kindness, but you bestow them on me anyway! And I am so grateful that You do. Help me to be more like the tax collector, coming to you in humility, remembering that I don’t deserve the gifts that You have given to me.


4 Replies to “The Tax Collector”

  1. Hi Misty! I am coming over from Wednesday Prayer Girls.

    I liked your example of the friend who listed the ways he was ‘good’. That is so true too, that we think we deserve heaven, and good things. Your prayer was right on target…we need humility!

    We don’t even deserve a Savior, and yet that is exactly what we got. That’s all we need. He is good!

    Nice to see you today!

    1. Thanks, Ceil! It is so easy to fall into the trap of believing that we deserve this or that. But what do we truly deserve?

  2. I’m doing GMG Bible Study & we are working on humility this week. I’m seeing I have more pride than I thought.

    1. Anna, I’m doing the same study, and I know what you mean. Pride is one of those attitudes that can creep up on you. It amazes me how easy it is to slip into being prideful.

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