The parable of the ten lepers in Luke 17 gifts us my favorite story regarding a person's response to the Lord's healing them. The way I heard it as a kid was that only one of the lepers was grateful, and so was saved. Well, I heard wrong. Let's check out this parable.
On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
What it meant to be a leper in Ancient Israel is all but lost on us in today's healthy society. If you came down with leprosy, you lost your home, your family, and your friends. You were not allowed to be near others, and as such were cast out of town to live with other lepers. It is this situation that Jesus comes across these ten lepers.
Imagine the healing that takes place; it was not simply a restoration of health, but of life, family, society, and worship. Everything once lost was restored. Here's the question: Do you really think that the nine that did not return to say thanks weren't grateful? A man just approached them out of the blue and returned their lives back to them. Of course they were grateful!
The point of this parable has nothing to do with being grateful. It regards what you ought to do with your gratitude.
The one leper left with the others. Then it dawns on him... Maybe I should give credit to whom it is owed. He returns praising God with a loud voice, falls at Jesus' feet and gives Him something. This is the picture I want you to take from this: picture gratitude as a coin. A coin that you may retain possession of, or give away. You see, I am certain that the other nine, who desired to be healed greatly, had gratitude. They possessed the coin that is gratitude. And while this is a good thing, it is not the end of the responsibility of the one healed. The one who returned, took that coin of gratitude and gave it to Jesus. This is what we mean by saying we owe a debt of gratitude.
The awesome part of the story is that the one who returned got a further lesson regarding what healed him. A lesson that the other nine missed out on: "your faith has made you well."
There is a direct correlation between one who does not acknowledge God in all his ways and give Him thanks, and struggling with faith and worry. If we fail to both remember God's faithfulness, or even fail in saying "thank you" for His faithfulness, we will quickly find ourselves loosing sight of what He is doing in the midst of difficulties.
Are you grateful for God's salvation? Are you grateful for His promise to present you faultless before the throne of grace? Are you grateful for good days? Bad days? Are you grateful for His Spirit forming you more and more into the image of Christ?
All the time.
I tell you, truly, there is no more transformative prayer I pray than to give God the thanks I owe Him.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
~ Happy Thanksgiving to you all! ~