Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Ten Lepers and Thankfulness

I taught a lesson tonight in VBS based on the ten lepers of Luke 17: 11-19.

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

14When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed.

15One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

17Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" 19Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well."

I think that when most of us hear this story, we have a tendency to think about whether or not we would have gone back and thanked Jesus, and that most of us would like to believe that we might have. I'm a stats guy though, and I think when we're honest with ourselves, we know that we probably would have behaved as the other nine.

Honestly though, I think trying to analyze the story in those terms isn't most effective. I think we're better off looking at the story in light of the fact that there were ten opportunities for Jesus to be thanked, and only one opportunity was seized.

For instance, how many of us can honestly reflect on the recent past and ten things we've been blessed with and say that we've thanked God for all ten? I can't. Maybe it's more than one, but it's a far cry from ten.

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