Pharisee or Tax Collector


Edition 3: Day 3

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner’”
— Luke 18:13


The practice of Lectio Divina* in my personal devotions the last few years has helped me to become more authentic in coming close to God. Prayer has become more personal and relational to me. It is no longer a wish list of prayer requests for which to plea or a chore to accomplish; rather, it is a natural communication with the One who knows me and loves me so much. It is also in this process of communication that I know myself better and understand God’s sovereignty upon my life.

One day, I was listening to Luke 18 on my mobile phone while driving to a meeting. When it came to the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, the tax collector’s self-awareness and utterance towards God touched me deeply. It was as if I was having the same conversation with Jesus. I couldn’t hold back the emotions and burst into tears as I, too, cried out to God, “Father, have mercy on me; I am a sinner.” By identifying myself just as that tax collector, in need of mercy, I experienced God afresh as all-knowing and all-loving, recognizing there is no need to pretend.

Further Scripture Reflection: LUKE 18:9-14, 1 THESSALONIANS 5:16-18

1. How much do I enjoy my prayer time with God? Do I communicate with Him spontaneously in every situation?
2. Who am I in my prayer time? A Pharisee? A tax collector? Or someone else?.

Aaron Tang is serving as Executive Director of Canadian Chinese Alliance Churches Association (CCACA).


*Lectio Divina: A contemplative praying of the Scriptures, slowly, several times, and listening for God to speak.
Photo Credit:  Alex E. Proimos via Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

One comment on “Pharisee or Tax Collector

  1. Pingback: Celebration Sunday 1 | 40 Days of Faith and Hope in Action

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