I recently spoke about Mary’s song found in Luke 1:46-55. I focused on the humility demonstrated by Mary to come present to God’s speaking voice and Presence.

Her humility reminding me of a parable that Jesus shared in Luke 18. Jesus tells this parable to certain ones who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt. It is a story about two men, a Pharisee and a tax collector.

The tax collector in the parable knows he is an utter mess. He stands at a distance, unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven and beats his chest and says, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!”

There’s another man, a Pharisee. I can imagine him walking into the temple and everyone greets him. He’s comfortable, he’s confident in a religious setting. He prays, “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.’

The humble person never appeals to merit. “Look what I’ve done for you God.” The humble person always appeals to God’s mercy. The humble person comes before God and says, “The only way I can come into your presence, the only reason you answer my prayers is because of the gift of your Son and his death on the cross for me!”

The proud say, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” They lack humility, not realizing they are “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” They lack what I call “heart awareness.” They struggle to answer the question honestly, “How is your heart?” Many don’t realize their heart is diseased and in need of Jesus cleansing and healing touch.

Without that humble posture we stop hearing the healing and sustaining voice of God. We start listening to the voices of the world to tell us how we’ve arrived and accomplished what others can only dream about.