Today people around the world are concerned about the pandemic, but when Jesus walked the earth there was also a disease that people greatly feared. It was leprosy, There was no treatment or cure and those afflicted with it were banished from society. Social distancing for them meant they had to live outside of town, away from family and society. They had no hope of ever going back. Theirs was a slow death over many years while their bodies deteriorated. They couldn’t work and so they begged for food and whatever other needs they might have.
Luke 17:11-19. One day ten men who were lepers approached Jesus as He was entering a village. It says they stood a far off (as they were required to do) and cried out to Him, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” And when Jesus saw them, He told them to go show themselves to the priest. And when they did, they were totally cleansed of the disease.
Can you imagine what that must have been like for them? Not only were they free of that terrible disease, but they could now return to their homes and live again in society. Jesus had returned to them everything that they had lost. We can only imagine the joy and freedom they must have felt.
But scripture tells us that only one of them returned to thank Jesus. When he saw that he had been healed, he returned and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.
Now Samaritans were despised by the Jews. So this man had not only been an outcast from society, but he probably had not been accepted well by his fellow lepers who were Jews. In today’s language he would have been considered a “nobody”.
Jesus asked, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” He was making a point that those who claimed to know God, had not acknowledged His gift to them. And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”
When we read this story we wonder how they could not have been grateful. Where did they go? What did they do? How did they celebrate? We will never know. But we do know that one of them returned to thank the Lord from a grateful heart.
A grateful heart is thankful for every gift the Lord gives to us. Every breath we take is a gift from Him. Each new day is His blessing to us. Every member of our family was chosen by Him to bless us. whether we see it or not. During this crazy time right now, are we thanking God from a grateful heart for all He has given us or are we complaining about the things we do not have or cannot do?
As you gather round your table today, no doubt there are many needs among you. Some things may even be desperate cries for help. Bring them to Jesus just as the ten lepers did out of their desperation. Ask Him for help, especially in those things that you have no way of changing. Do whatever seems good to you, just say them, or write them down, or in some way present them to Him.
Then, as a family, share together all the things You have seen Him do for you already. All the prayers that have been answered. All the needs that have been met. Come to Him as that grateful man who was healed and set free. Thank Him for the big things. Thank Him for the little things. Thank Him for the things you may not have even thought about until right now. See who can come up with the longest gratitude list because gratitude changes everything!
Father, You bless us with so much, every day, every hour. Forgive us, please, when we don’t even think about what You are giving us or doing for us. We come to You now with hearts filled with gratitude for all You are and for all You have blessed us with. You know we have many needs right now and we trust You are caring for us. May we never be as the nine who took their gift for granted. We love You and we are grateful! Amen.