Puttin’ on the Ritz

How could you not be impressed? There he stands, attired in an immaculate new suit, his hair trimmed and combed to perfection, the look on his face displays confidence, the swagger of his demeanor demands respect.

…and then he speaks…

“Oh God I thank thee that I am not like these sinners that surround me! I serve on the financial committee, I oversee the ushers, and just last week, I corrected the pastor regarding his sermon.” He continues, “I tithe faithfully every week, and I even make sure they do with my money as they’re supposed to. Not to mention O’ Lord, I stopped those foolish women with the bleeding hearts from giving my money to those lazy vagrants pleading for a place to stay.”


In the back corner, out of sight of all, stands an elderly man in worn and ragged clothing. Before stepping into the building, he had given his last quarter to a child on the street. He buries his head in shame, and weeps the words, “Lord, forgive me, for I am a sinful man.”

Jesus makes it very clear the latter man leaves justified… and the other?

“…everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14

About mtsweat

Seeking the rest that is only promised and found in Christ Jesus, along with my treasured wife of more than twenty-five years, we seek to grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, walk with the Holy Spirit as He moves our hearts, loving others always as Jesus loves us, and carry the news of His glory, the wonderful gospel, that gives light and life where there once was only darkness.
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22 Responses to Puttin’ on the Ritz

  1. Freedomborn says:

    Hi Mike, no I don’t mind if you join in and it looks as though it is ok with summathetes but thanks for asking, also it is your post so perhaps you have that right to express why you posted it but not the right to tell others how they are to accept or value what you shared, each person will find their own you message in it as the Lord touches them. I don’t consider myself or others as nothing not that you were saying that of course and yes we are saved by grace but our lives will reflect that Jesus is living within us and He tells us we are people of worth and so are others or He wouldn’t have died for us, not that we did anything to deserve such a great Sacrifice, He did so because He Loved us greatly and He considered us worthwhile.

    God does not look on us as inferior and worms as some claim it would be like people considering their Children as just junk and worthless, that is not in anyway how God sees us, our value to Him is beyond measure, it is Satan that considers us worthless not God, we are His Treasure as we can see in this Scripture below not because of anything we have done or have not done but because He Loves us so much we are His Children and He is our Abba Father can we stop praising Him not just in words but with our whole lives.

    1 Peter 2:8-10 They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. But you are a Chosen Generation, a Royal Priesthood, a Holy Nation, His own Special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous Light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

    This is us God is talking about us, we are not junk, let us walk righteously and not as those who are lost walk.

    I John 3 1-11 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as He is righteous.

    Christian Love Anne

  2. mtsweat says:

    Hey, this is a neat conversation, can I join in? Oh Yeah… it’s my blog. I really appreciate everyone’s reading and support, but after reading this post through the eyes of another perspective, I see that I might have been clearer in driving home the message. The story is simply meant to relay man’s utter hopelessness, regardless of their stature in this world. Whether fancily religious and doing good deeds, or living in dead poverty and doing good deeds, the only right response is to cry out for mercy. Mercy and grace that comes only through the finished work of Jesus Christ.
    God Bless.

  3. Freedomborn says:

    Dear summathetes I did understand what you were saying but we need to remember that Scripture touches our heart in different ways at different times in our lives, in the short time I have known Mike I have appreciated his gift of sharing his heart focus in a unique and uplifting way and I have been greatly blessed by what he has shared, he is also a humble caring man who seeks to uplift others for no reason but that he cares enough to do so and in this world where many are devaluing and putting others down we need more Mikes. To be honest I don’t really think Jesus would have minded that Mike used His story to express what was in his heart, Mike was not changing it to deceive which is what the warning in Revelation is about but to highlight that those who think they are better then others are the poorer.

    Christian Love Anne

  4. summathetes says:

    Anne, of course I do know what metaphors and allegories are. And I do think I understand that Mike was trying to underscore the idea of having a humble heart. But I still wonder if the way that Mike “retold” what Jesus said makes a slightly different point than the one Jesus was making. I lean in the direction of thinking that what Jesus said was what he meant and that the point Jesus was making was the point needing to be made in that particular passage of Scripture. To paint a picture of the one who “went away justified” differently than the way Jesus painted the picture, seems to me to alter the story . . . and thus change the point. It could well be that what Mike shared “relates to the hear and now” and that it can “touch the hearts of those who are willing to listen.” But I still think it is worth asking whether the point Mike was seeking to make is, in fact, the point Jesus was making.

  5. Freedomborn says:

    Hi Mike, it seems that some people don’t understand what a metaphor or allegory is, to me your story was not for the purpose of changing Scripture but to use it to highlight a point you were seeking to make which to me was that we need to have a humble heart not considering ourselves better then others and I felt you did this well and in a thought provoking way. Please don’t apologise for the gift you have in sharing Scripture in a way that relates to the here and now even if not understood by others it will touch the hearts of those who are willing to listen instead of finding fault.

    Thank you – Christian Love Anne

  6. summathetes says:

    My desire was not to “correct” you as much as to ask about what you felt you were doing in changing Jesus’ words. The way you retold the story, the focus was on what the “other man” was like, what he did, that contributed to his going away justified. (You described his condition and what he did.) The way that Jesus told the story, the “other man” (the tax-gatherer) simply abandoned himself to the mercy of God. That seems to me to be Jesus’ point. Thoughts?

  7. summathetes says:

    Although I believe I understand the point you are making, I wonder why you felt it helpful to change Jesus’ own words to make your point. What was it in what Jesus said in describing the man who “prayed to himself” that you felt warranted you altering it the way you did? What did you want to highlight that Jesus’ words didn’t adequately convey? And why did you describe the other as an old man in ragged clothing who had given away his last coins? Jesus didn’t present the tax-gatherer that way. Why would you change the picture of the tax-gathered? What is it that you are saying that you felt was not adequately conveyed in Jesus’ words? Just wondering . . .

  8. freedomborn says:

    I’m not going to argue with you Tikki my comment about fear was about me not you, as I said each of us must do as our heart tells us, I have no worry about sharing my name on the Internet as for the other things you mentioned I take each one on it’s own merit if needed I do them, if not I don’t .. I repeat you do what you feel is needed Tikki and leave me to do the same.

    Kind regards Anne

  9. TikkTok says:


    The internet is not a safe place. Give an identity, and someone can stalk you and within a very short amount of time find out where you live and get a picture of your house online. It’s extremely easy to do. And there are crazies out there, as I have experienced first hand, who seem perfectly normal until you say something (like the truth) that they don’t agree with.

    For me, it’s not an issue of hiding or being willing to speak out openly- it’s a matter of safety for me and my family. Fwiw.


    • freedomborn says:

      Thank you for sharing Tikki and I’m sorry you were hurt and I don’t doubt what you say is Truth but if someone wants to hurt me they will whether they know my name or not. I lived in fear for many years but I will no longer walk this path, what if someone harms me, how am I to respond, Jesus asks us to Love our enemies, we chose to be His, but He still Loved us enough to die for us and with His empowering so can we. What about Paul when he was persecuted and abused, He wasn’t on the Internet how did he respond…Christians today in other Countries are being martyred for standing up for the Lord…. what man does for evil reasons, God can use for good and does for all those who Love and obey Him.

      Thank you for your concern Tikki but we must all do what is in our heart to do – Christian Love Anne.

      • TikkTok says:

        Do you lock your house? Your car? 😀 Same thing. It’s a safety measure; a precaution.

        I’m glad my bank has measures in place to deter hackers. I’d rather not have it be easy for someone to get all my financial information.

        I’m glad I set social network settings to private. Why make it easy? People can take pictures (of children in particular) and use those images and turn it into kiddie porn, even if the child was not involved in the situation, or if the parents even know that the image was use. (This is why organizations that deal with children have parental consent forms for pictures to be taken and do background checks on the people around the kids.)

        It’s not about living in fear; it’s about taking precautions. It’s like washing your hands when you get home from public places because goodness knows what all you have on your hands. It’s not about living in fear of getting hurt (and I wasn’t with the crazy, lol), but why make it easy for someone to make a mess if you have precautions you can take? Why not use them?

        Why invite trouble if you don’t have to? Certainly, there will always be those that are determined, but really, criminals want the easy score- like the unlocked car in the mall parking lot during holiday season, loaded with packages.

        I’d rather not walk out to my car at night in a parking lot if I didn’t have to. I’d rather wear my bear bell and whistle when hiking so I don’t sneak up on a bear and have it attack me because I startled it. It might still get me, but at least I took precautions, instead of doing nothing and inviting a situation to happen that might not have otherwise.

        This has nothing to do with not loving your enemies, nor our response to being persecuted. 🙂 It’s like taking an umbrella when you know it is probably going to rain, or packing your car with sand and an emergency kit during winter.

        You asked why people don’t use their real names- I’m sharing one of the primary reasons people don’t use their real names.

        To each his own, and your mileage may vary. 🙂

        Tikki 🙂

  10. freedomborn says:

    Thank you for clarifying that for me Carley, but Anne and Annie are both my names and I have also added my last name Stocks to my About. I had some reservation after being warned about sharing too much of myself on a Blog but felt God would protect me if there was need. My names come from the same source which is the Hebrew name Hannah and means grace, people stated calling me Annie when I was young and others continue to do so today, my Pen name which is Annie Hope I put together myself and it was because my heart is full of Hope for a better and brighter tomorrow, although I’m thankful for the blessings today. I was hurt by someone using different names that is why I asked but then I remembered some times camouflage is needed for good reasons too. Do both your names Carley have a meaning even if it is just to you?.

    My Married name Stocks has always been a comfort to me having had quiet a few last names as a child, mostly I use my full name when posting. When we were was crossing the Border from N.S.W and after being told Queenslanders were friendly, I was very impressed to see a sign saying Stocks crossing, being sheep of course, and I excitedly shouted Hey! they knew we were coming! but I was not so impressed when the Shops said hurry while Stocks last and just a bit more worried, being over 50 when they assured me New Stocks were on the way. I was already thinking I hope they had disposable nappies in Heaven a lot sooner before they were on earth because if not I will be doing a lot of washing when I get there but then the Lord assured me the food in Heaven doesn’t have any waste… How good is that!

    Thanks again Carley – Christian Love Anne.

  11. lambskinny says:

    I think people create “usernames” as you obviously did, too. Then, as they become accustomed to the people who visit their blogs and get to know them a little bit, they may decide to share their real name. After all, this is the big big big internet and the whole world is out there. Not all people are worthy of our trust.
    In Christ, Carley aka lambskinny

  12. freedomborn says:

    Hi livinginobscurity yes I agree with you if we judge others ours by our own agenda then it is not the Holy Spirit He always confirms by Scripture when there is error.

    I hope you don’t mind me asking but being new to blogging I have yet to work out why people hide their true identity behind a made up name, as Christians I thought we are to be open and honest with each other but perhaps I’m missing something and it has to do with the rules of blogging and maybe I’m not playing the game properly I would appreciate your help with this.

    Thanking you Anne

  13. One had a “religious spirit” the other had relationship with the Spirit! Great post!

  14. April says:

    Wonderful post!! Great words to begin the day with! Blessings

  15. freedomborn says:

    Just a few scriptures to ponder on Mike and Carley but there are many more that confirms these, if you would like them please let me know and aso I will explain how by knowing and accepting God’s word instead of rejecting it because we don’t understand it, we have a wonderful and awesome gift from the Lord . So let’s stop trusting in our own understanding or someones elses or even what we have been taught wrongly for many years and listen to what God wants to tell us through His inspired word and The Living Word but please just in case you think I’m saying we have to earn your Salvation, let me make it perfectly clear it is a free gift but we will show we have it and we will aim for perfection but not as the world understands it but as God does.

    Please Explain how this Scriptures fits in with you continue to sin till you die…

    1John 3:4-10 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that He appeared so that He might take away our sins. And in Him is no sin. No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him. Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the Children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not Love his brother.

    John 8:34-36 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

    Romans 8:1-4 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit

    Please delete if you want to – Christian Love Anne.

  16. freedomborn says:

    Well my friend Mike confession is good for the soul, have you been polishing up those black shiny shoes, I bought the cane and top hat to wear myself ? we can joke, but it is not funny to hurt others in regard to considering ourselves better and so pushing them away but as we know there is a difference from being faithful to what God asks us to do and being a slave to what our flesh dictates that is why we need to put it to death by the Spirit.

    I agree if we judge others by our own agenda then who do we think we are, the Almighty and if we did have His agenda we wouldn’t judge others critically but Lovingly because God is Love and He just doesn’t condemn like sinful man does but He does Love enough to discipline us by letting us suffer the consequences of our own evil flesh nature to bring us to heart repentance and as we are His Hands, Arms Feet and His voice it is up to us as the Body of Christ to follow His guidelines faithfully for the protection of the Body. As I also said before with a humble spirit and Love and with care because we may fall into sin if not perfected in Love. When God tells us not to Judge others it is in regard to their weaknesses and shortcomings and we are not to judge them by our own agenda but God’s word as you can see below. We are also to test the ‘spirit of those who teach us an to examine ourselves to see if we are in Christ Jesus and we are to take Godly pride in who we are in Him as Children of The King.

    1 Corinthians 6:2-3 Do ye not know that the Saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
    2 Timothy 42-3 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

    Take care leats do some soft shoe tomorrow – Christian Love Anne

  17. lambskinny says:

    So, I conclude we Christians remain ‘sinners’ — sinners saved by grace. We don’t suddenly become completely sinless; rather we are declared holy by the very fact we are humbled before the Lord and His awesome righteousness. Whatdayathink, MT? God bless! Carley

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