Wednesday, November 26, 2008



Erma Bombeck made a fascinating observation about Thanksgiving. She said, "Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not a coincidence." She may be on to something here.

Whatever the Thanksgiving season means to you, there is a most important direction for you to focus your thanks and that is to the God of gods. There is an interesting story where Jesus makes a point about being thankful.

The story is found in Luke 17:11-19: 11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!"

NOTE that Jesus was on His way from Galilee to Jerusalem to offer Himself as a sacrifice for the world and He travels on the border of Samaria and Galilee. The Jews and Samaritans were arch enemies. They would have nothing to do with one another. The Jews viewed them as lesser than or half-breeds. They certainly would never view any Samaritan as a good or righteous person.

Jesus encounters 10 lepers along that border. And it's interesting to me that they didn't ask for Jesus to heal them. They asked of Him the same as they have been asking all others as they passed by. "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" "Jesus, just show us some pity and compassion and contribute to our needs the best you can."

14 When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed. This is such a different healing experience. Jesus didn't touch them nor did He pronounce them healed, but gave them something to do. Go to your priests and show yourself to them. You see, the only one who could pronounce these lepers clean was the priest. This was the requirement of the Law. What's interesting is that this was not a common occurrence that lepers were healed. In fact, the Jewish leadership had taught them that only the Messiah would be able to heal lepers.

These lepers listened to Jesus and did what He said. And then it literally says, "In the act of going, they were cleansed of their leprosy." When you do what Jesus says to do, you, too, will experience a healing of your "leprosy". Now NOTE what happens.

15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him-and he was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" 19 Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well."

All of the lepers were cleansed or healed of their leprosy, yet only one came back to express his gratefulness. And, Jesus makes it clear that the only one who came back to give thanks was not a Jew, but a Samaritan.

NOTE something here: We live in the same way. Even though we experience His cleansing and healing in our lives, it's so easy to take it all for granted. Only one out of ten are thankful. I think this is about right!

But NOTE, the one who returns to be thankful is not only cleansed, but Jesus says, "Rise up and go; your faith has made you well." "Made you well" is the word for salvation. Your faith-your act of thankfulness-has saved you. All of the others were healed, but only this one was fully saved and made whole.

This reminds me of the passage in the first chapter of Romans. Paul says, "For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools."

I think it comes down to this: GRATEFUL PEOPLE ARE THE ONLY ONES WHO CAN FULLY ENJOY ALL THAT GOD HAS FOR THEM. So today, are you thankful? Be sure to say so. Tell God and tell others you love how thankful you really are, then look out for God's fullness and wholeness in your life!