Jesus told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, `God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.' But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, `God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted."
I have never looked for the center stage. I always felt I could get more done by working in the background and flicking the switches if you will. I think that Jesus is talking about a more prevalent human condition than just someone choosing the limelight. He is talking about our egos. Even when I am getting all of these things done in the background I am still guilty of getting all puffed up when I get things accomplished.
We humans need to realize that we are servants of God. We are here to do God's will and anything we do is done through Him. I had a friend several years ago who was very good at pointing out my prideful moments. I was equally good at pointing out hers.
Pride and ego they can be dreadfully dangerous things. However, they have their place. Taking pride in your workmanship I believe is a good thing when it is paired with thanking God for the gifts He has given us to do that work. I have some skills in some areas. I thank God when I use those gifts for a good purpose.
Ego can be a good thing as well as long as it does not come unhinged or unshackled in some cases. You have all met people whose egos have gotten the best of them.
This passage from Proverb says it all in just a few words.
Proverbs 3:6Living Bible (TLB)6 In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.
In this gospel story the pharisee really put himself first. The tax collector new he was a flawed individual and he wanted to be right with God. The tax collector put God first. It doesn't matter what you may have done. Just know the God loves you and God is always ready to hear you ask for forgiveness and to thank God for your gifts.