The Pharisee and the Tax Collector


The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (revised version 2011)

(The Pharisee flounces in, full of his own importance... the other, the Tax Collector enters tearfully and prayerfully. The Pharisee dresses as a 'religious' person, the Tax Collector as a punk, Goth or scruff)

Narrator: Two people one day came into church, one was a Pharisee, the other a Tax Collector. The Pharisee stood up and this is how he prayed.


I am your faithful servant God, there’s no-one serves likes me,

look around at all these others, and you’ll see. (nods towards the congregation)

They’re lazy, self-centred, their faith~ not all that strong,

But I cannot be faulted for I never go far wrong.

I smile a lot, I’m popular, a pleasure to have around;

People realise I’m important; my good deeds all abound,

A pillar of the church I am, reliable and sound!

Without MY Sunday offering, this church here would fall down! (looks up at the roof)

I give my money to the poor, well, I give them what I can,

I say my prayers quite often, and I’m your biggest fan God,

But I’m pleased I’m not like HER/HIM, her/his life is such a mess,

S/he’s really quite pathetic, but I’m sure s/he TRIES her/his best.

(motions towards the other person)

So come on God, give me credit? I’m sure you must agree

You must be filled with so much joy…. to have a child . . . like me?

Narrator: The Tax Collector would not even raise his eyes to heaven, but hung his head in shame and whispered……

Tax Collector: Oh God . . . I’m so sorry! (this person speaks right from the heart)

Narrator: As you watch them leave this place, ask yourself which person, God’s pleasure fell upon?

Children's version of the same parable for School Assemblies

I would like to tell you one of the parables that Jesus told, it can be found in St Luke’s Gospel Ch 18 vv 9-14. If perhaps you look it up, you may find it isn’t quite the same as this because this is a children’s version of it……..

(needed: a tape of good dance music and a good microphone)

Two children once went into the assembly hall to pray………

(music fairly loud as they come in)

(music stops)

And this is how one of them prayed:-

(music much quieter)

I’m good, I’m great there’s no-one quite like me,

Look around at all the others, and you’ll see,

They’re lazy, they’re selfish, they tell tales all day long,

And I cannot be faulted for I never go far wrong!

(music louder)

(music stops)

And so he continued………

(music much quieter)

I’……m perfect, so cheerful, a pleasure to have around

I work just as requested and I never make a sound

She’s messy, untidy, her work is such a state,

And mine is simply perfect, and my homework’s never late.

(music louder)

(music stops)

And so he continued……..

(music much quieter)

I……. give my money to the poor, I give them what I can,

I go to church each Sunday and I am your biggest fan (God)

But I’m pleased I’m not like her, always in a mess,

And what I’m about to say you’ll never guess

(music stops)

*** She’s not been in the good book

Not seven times like me,

So am I getting through to you God?

Aren’t you pleased …. You’ve got a child …. Like me?

(music louder)

(music stops)

The girl on the other hand would not even raise her eyes to heaven,

she hung her head in shame and whispered…….

Oh God, I just can’t help myself at times……. I’m so sorry!

As you watch them leave the assembly hall, ask yourself, which one of these two found forgiveness in the eyes of God?

(music louder and stops)

***(alternative verse if not played out in school assembly)

I just know I’ll be rewarded,

For my sincerity.

So am I getting through to you God?

Aren’t you pleased....You’ve got a child....Like me?