The parable of the Pharisee and the Tax collector praying at the temple is a powerful passage.  How do we address the longing in our hearts to be accepted and approved?  We can find ways to cover over this emptiness with external behaviours, good deeds, acceptable or rewarded tasks.  At the end of the day, we still struggle.  The Pharisee was faithful, self-contained, self-controlled, diligent and generous.  He appeared to have his life together.  

Each of us have unwritten “rules” of what we see as important and worth prioritising.   This may include a good education, successful marriage, being an upright citizen, diligent committee member, faithful Christian, competent worker, having a tidy house, generous in tithing, and self-controlled in eating habits. But is this what is important in God’s eyes and what is the motivation?  

What would happen if this striving is irrelevant in God’s eyes and he wants us to welcome his love, acceptance, forgiveness and mercy instead?  The Tax Collector in the parable seemed to express a deep longing for God to restore his heart, mind and soul.   He trusted in God’s actions and character, not his own. 

 Everyone is welcome!  Come and hear the good news.  Do we realise that the longing of your heart can be filled with God’s acceptance and love?  Are we willing to acknowledge our need for God? Are we willing to rest in this love?  Start breathing in Christ’s mercy and the rest is up to the Holy Spirit.