A modern-day parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector…
Two men went up to the temple court to pray and to plead their case, one a CEO and the other, his tax auditor. The CEO knew what he wanted to say. He had it all scripted. He was all dressed up for the occasion. He was all ready to prove his worth and value to the temple heads.
He even came with an entourage, flanked by many who knew him, adored him and would do anything to defend him. They were there to marvel at what he has to say. They were all ready to be awed by him.
His wife came with him too. She was there to support him. She was confident of her husband's unimpeachable character. She stood all ready to stand by him. She knew he could do no wrong.
The CEO entered the temple gates, walked into the pristine place and perched himself at the center of the grand hall before a crowd of witnesses. He looked around, bowed at the temple heads, and began his speech:-
"My Lord, I thank you for my innocence. I thank you that I am not like those who took millions and splurged it on themselves. All they care about is themselves. But my Lord, I am different. I stand apart from them. I did not pocket a single cent. I gave it all back. I mean everything. It was never about personal gain. My company suffered no wrongful loss. I was not dishonest. It was always for a good cause. I did it wholeheartedly for my company.
In fact, I did everything for the people. I led by example. I have people who will stand by me. They supported me unquestionably. They gave of their time, talent and love gifts to my organization without reservation. That is how much respect I have earned from them, and mind you, it is all hard work on my part.
I would have you know that I expand my company faster than those neighborhood shops around me. I have other companies from other countries following after my business model. They are setting up their organization based on my blueprint. I have even started schools based on my teachings and my leadership style. My overseas project may be unorthodox, even controversial, but it brings in the crowd, the fame and even the cash contributions. I am doing everything right, sir.
For all this, I have to thank my beloved wife. She is my sun-light, my inspiration. She is my wisdom. She had stripped of herself of almost everything in order to win contracts for the company. She has sacrificed greatly for me and she therefore deserves the best of everything. I will not spare a cent to make sure she lives in comfort and wealth. If anything should happen to me, she is my successor, needless to say. No one deserves more than her to fill my shoes.
My Lord, big names have come all over the world to seek my counsel. They come in busloads to watch me lead on stage. I am in hot demand as a speaker, a performer and an image consultant. I am indefatigable when it comes to expanding my company and enlarging my estate. My people love me.
My company's growth and the people's undying affection for me are what sets me apart from the rest of those who are now still struggling with their finances, numbers and building space.
So, I consider my leadership beyond reproach. I have sought regular legal and auditors' advice. I cannot be blamed for matters for which I have no control over. I am therefore not guilty. Not at all.
And if those below me have missed a step or committed a wrong, I cannot be held responsible for their actions as their CEO. I have done my part as their leader and I can only do so much as a man.
My Lord, I am no superman. Many things are really beyond me. You will have to look elsewhere for the culprit. I am and will always be innocent. I rest my case. Thank you for your time."
It was the tax auditor's turn. He stood at a distance. He would not even look up at the temple heads, but he beat his breast and said, ‘My Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner. Forgive me I plead. I accept unreserved responsibility for my failings. I am truly sorry."
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14) Cheerz.