The Pharisee & the Tax Collector
We need God.
Blocks to build a tower
“Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor because the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!” (Matthew 5:3)
Say: Every child at some time in their life has played with building blocks. I still remember the fun I had as a child building different things from these blocks. One thing that I remember very well is that I used to enter into a contest with another child to see who could build the tallest tower. The one who could stack up the most blocks without their tower falling was the winner. Did you ever play that game?
Say: I thought it might be fun to play the tower game this morning. Here is the way we will play. For every good thing we’ve done, I will add a block. Let’s see if I can build this block high enough to reach heaven. Let's see, where shall I start? (Encourage children to call out good things. Add blocks until the tower falls over.)
Say: Crash! Well, my tower got just a little too tall, didn't it?
Say: Jesus taught his disciples that whenever people think they are so good that they don’t need God, they are headed for a fall!
Pick up two blocks and use them to tell the story. One block will be the Pharisee and one will be the Tax Collector. Hold up the appropriate block while you talk.
Say: Jesus told about two men who went to the temple. A temple is like a church. One of the men bragged about all of the great things he did and thanked God that he wasn't like those other sinners in the temple.
Say: The other man, instead of bragging about how great he was, humbly asked God to forgive him for all of the times he failed to be the kind of person that God wanted him to be.
Say: This man knew that he could never do enough good things to be as high as God. This man knew that he needed God.
Say: Jesus was not the least bit impressed with all of the bragging of the first man. After all, when we compare our goodness to the goodness of Jesus, it just doesn't stack up, does it?
Pray: Heavenly Father, please help us remember that when we build our lives upon our own goodness, we are headed for a fall. Instead, let us never forget that we need You because You are so good. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.