I don't typically think of this passage during Thanksgiving, but when I read it this morning, I saw myself and my tendencies and was convicted.
And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go show yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at this feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.
I see a lot of similarities between these lepers and myself.
- The lepers had a problem. They were physically ill and desired relief. I have all kinds of "problems," be it sin issues, emotional issues, struggles in attitude, etc.
- The lepers cried out to God for help. "Have mercy on us." Often I pray that God would help in a certain situation, maybe even relieve some stress somewhere or make something "go smoothly."
- God answered the lepers' prayer. So many times God has answered what I've asked of Him. Even my selfish prayers wanting relief from some pressure somewhere.
Here's where it gets really convicting. Nine of those lepers held out their hands, got what they wanted, and never gave Christ a second thought. Who knows where they went from the priests. Back to their friends? Back to their families? Back to their jobs? Back to the way they had lived before their affliction? Back to their unthankful thinking. When living unthankful is such an ingrained habit, it doesn't take much to fall back into that rut and into that way of life.
Not all ten lepers neglected to give thanks, however. One came back. One. This one's remembrance of thanksgiving made such an impression on Christ and this book's penman, Luke, that its account was included for us all to read for hundreds and hundreds of years to this day. It was put in there for a reason. This leper asked, received, and came back to give thanks and to glorify. This was a Samaritan whose life was given back by a Jew. This leper now cleansed was in a state of utmost humility, indebtedness, and gratitude. We are sinners now cleansed by the almighty God. Is "falling down on our faces" and "glorifying" and "giving of thanks" our life habit? Does God know us, that when He gives us what we ask, we are sure to glorify and thank Him for it?
This is a passage of thanksgiving with which we all can identify and grasp. Everyday we ask, we receive, we are showered with blessings. We are given beautiful, redeemed lives by One who loves us and has given everything for us. Be the one out of ten. Go back and give thanks.