Season After Pentecost: The Old Testament Passage – Being full of self, or full of God

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 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. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ 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!’ 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.” (Luke 18:9-14)

Who are you, beloved reader? Who are you in the midst of other people? Do you consider your self a “somebody”, a “nobody”, or something in between? In a crowd of people, do you stand out or do you blend in? What worth and importance are you in this world? Would those around you, strangers and friends/family have the same opinion of you?

I think of these things quite frequently. Who am I that others should pay attention to me or take note of me? I am no one really; not someone to have attention paid to me. I am neither tall nor short, fat nor skinny, a beauty nor a beast. I don’t really know who I am from the outside looking in. I know who I am from the inside looking out.

I think if I am known, or known well, it is not so much for who I am but how much I open myself to let God work through me. Now hear me well! Not what I do, but what I allow God to do through me! In that I am a lot like Paul.

I had an employee tell me I am the best boss she has ever had; impressive since she is in her late 70’s and has worked all her life. She says it is because I show so much compassion and care for her. I told her, quite honestly, I treat her the same way I treat anyone else. [Okay, maybe one or three notable exceptions!] But my point is, whatever makes me special according to her is only the result of allowing and inviting God’s care and compassion show through me!

Now, back to the temple. How do you feel you stack up against other people? And how do you think God considers you to stack up against other people? Who fills up your being? You, or God?