Stories can mystify, charm, and surprise us—especially ones with an unexpected twist. Jesus’ parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector is one such story. In it, two men—one outwardly righteous, another keenly aware of his sin—offer two different prayers, with unexpected results. As Alistair Begg notes, perceptions and rewards aren’t always what we anticipate. Humbly recognizing our distance from God, it turns out, is the first step in bringing us closer to Him.