Both these men are represented as resorting to the same place for prayer. Both came to meet with God. But what a contrast there was between them! One was full of self-praise. He looked it, he walked it, he prayed it; the other realized fully his own nothingness. The Pharisee was looked upon as righteous before God, and thus he was in his own estimation. The publican, in his humility, looked upon himself as having no claim to the mercy or approval of God….
The publican would not so much as lift his eyes to heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” The Searcher of hearts looked down upon both men, and He discerned the value of each prayer. He looks not on the outward appearance; He judges not as humans judge. He does not value us according to our rank, talent, education, or position…. He saw that the Pharisee was full of self-importance and self-righteousness, and the record was made against his name, “Weighed in the balances, and found wanting.” …
The Majesty of heaven humbled Himself from the highest authority, from the position of one equal with God, to the lowest place, that of a servant…. His trade was that of a carpenter, and He labored with His hands to do His part in sustaining the family…. His humility did not consist in a low estimate of His own character and qualifications, but in humbling Himself to fallen humanity, in order to raise them with Him to a higher life….
That person is nearest God, and is the most honored of Him, who has the least self-importance and self-righteousness, the least trust and confidence in self, who waits on God in humble, trusting faith….
Pride and self-importance, when compared with humility and lowliness, are indeed weakness. It was our Savior’s gentleness, His plain, unassuming manners, that made Him a conqueror of hearts….
God looks down from heaven with pleasure on the trusting, believing ones who have a full sense of their dependence on Him. To such He delights to give when they ask Him. “He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.”—Signs of the Times, October 21, 1897.