Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself. God, I thank you that I am not like other men – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get. But the tax collector stood at a distance. He woul not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, God have mercy on me, a sinner. I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God . For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me. ‘ ‘When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingom of God !
In a way, each set of verses are telling the same story. The tax collector gave up his right to brag about who he was and what he had done. He chose instead to acnowledge, simply, that before God, he was an unworthy sinner, and he received the praise and acknowledgment of God. l The rich young man was offered the opportunity to trade the riches of this world for the wealth of a life lived for God. Sadly, he chose not to.
The same opportunity is offered to each of us – trade the empty riches of this world, for the incredible wealth found in living for Christ and serving others. The worst poverty of all is not knowing Jesus and His love.