“I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I gain.” Luke 18:12
Though this is a short verse, the story that Jesus tells us with it speaks volumes. Two men have come to the temple to pray; a pharisee and a tax collector. A “religious” man and a man of questionable character. The pharisee, Jesus relates, stands proudly and begins to pray before and with himself. So though he was supposedly speaking to God he was really only speaking outloud. He thanked God that he wasn’t like the rest of men who did wrong, like the tax collector nearby. Then he professed our verse today, that he fasted and tithed.
The other man, the tax collector, stood at a distance and didn’t even lift up his eyes. He would strike his breast and ask God’s forgiveness because he was a sinner. Jesus said the tax collector would go to his home justified and made right with God because he humbled himself.
This is a reminder to us that just because we do the “things” that we feel God wants us to do, that isn’t what makes us right with Him. Jesus said “he who humbles himself will be exalted.”