“Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, ‘Jesus, Master, have pity on us!’ When he saw them, he said, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him_and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, ‘Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ Then he said to him, ‘Rise and go; your faith has made you well’” (New International Version 1984, Luke 17:11-19).
“What do you get if you cross a centipede with a turkey? Fewer fights over who gets a drumstick at Thanksgiving” (Bonham, Clean Church Jokes).
Thanksgiving is approaching! What an opportunity to check our own attitudes and see if we are giving thanks for the blessings God has given us.
My pastor, Bill Hulse at Putnam City Baptist Church, Oklahoma City, is preaching on praise and thanksgiving through this month. He mentioned the passage above in his message last Sunday. The word ‘return’ caught my attention and as I have been meditating on this passage the Lord has reminded me of four ways that I can return thanks to Him.
First, by giving my attention to Him. It is important to note that only one of the ten returned to Jesus and expressed thanks. It is easy to give attention to our hurts and wants and to think that we have nothing to be thankful for, especially to God.
This one man was a Samaritan and a leper. He could not have been more of an outcast in his community. Yet, he is the one that recognized God’s hand moving in his life and returned to Jesus and said, “Thank you!”
Second, by demonstrating commitment to Him. When Jesus blessed this outcast and the outcast recognized he had been blessed by God he returned and ‘threw himself at Jesus’ feet.’ This is a universal picture of submission that each of us can recognize and follow.
Third, by showing affection to Him. This man’s reaction is similar to the prostitute who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and perfume. Just as most in our story did not give attention, commitment or affection to Jesus; most in the prostitute’s story scorned her and Jesus’ reaction to her.
In that story Jesus’ response was, “‘Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven_for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.’ Then Jesus said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ The other guests began to say among themselves, ‘Who is this who even forgives sins?’ Jesus said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace’” (Luke 7:47-50).
Fourth, by offering sacrifice to Him. Affection leads to sacrifice. We see this many times in people who have repented of much and yielded to Christ. Zacchaeus returned his thanks by saying to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount” (Luke 19:8).
Return thanks this Thanksgiving by giving your attention, commitment, affection and sacrifice to the Lord each and every day!
Unleashing the captives,