One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.” (Luke 17:15-19 NLT)
I shared this text at our Thanksgiving and Praise service on Sunday. How often do these words - “Thank you God” - cross your lips? How often does genuine gratitude fill your heart? This isn’t a peripheral issue; it’s actually central and critical to our faith.
Only when we acknowledge God as the gracious provider of general blessings—such as life, breath, food, shelter, and even our jobs and careers—do we begin to comprehend our need for God in a personal way, and then to express faith in Him. Thankfulness is foundational to the Christian life. It is our conscious response that comes from looking beyond our blessings to their source - God.
There were, however, a couple of other things that came to me regarding this text that I did not have time to share… (1) Luke’s mention that he was a Samaritan was significant (v. 16). It is likely that most, if not all of the other 9 were Jewish. This man was not part of God’s chosen race… he was outside of the covenant. In that day Samaritans were subject to racial prejudice and hatred by the Jews. If anyone had cause to hesitate to come and thank, let alone bow before Jesus, a Jew, this man did. But come he did; humbled, grateful, and praising God.
Have you ever been around someone who just came to faith in Christ? Someone who has been delivered from their past, their sin, and given hope, real, honest-to-God eternal hope… and they get it? They’re often a breath of fresh air. Now juxtapose that with some of the “church people” you have known. How is it that we who have been delivered… saved from so very much find so much cause to complain, murmur, and whine about this and that? Really? When I catch myself doing that, I am disgusted with myself. As I shared last week… If we’re going to throw a pity-party for ourselves, don’t bother setting the table for anyone else. I’m thinking that God isn’t even interested in showing up. I’ve been saved from eternal Hell! Pretty much anything else is a pittance compared to that. Next time you hear me whining, offer me a little cheese. Just sayin…
(2) Check out what Jesus said in verse 19. “Your faith has healed you.” The context tells us that Jesus isn’t talking about the man’s leprosy; He’s talking about the man’s heart. Whether it is for us or for those we care about, we often pray for healing of this malady or that infirmity; we pray for healed marriages, and mended relationships; and that is all well and good… Let’s just say they are legitimate needs. But how often are we concerned about the heart? As in “your heart”, or “their heart”?
It is gratitude for a Savior to forgive us of our rebellious nature, our sin, that leads us to salvation… that gives us eternal hope. But it is also gratitude for our Savior, and what He has done in and for us that heals our hearts of things like pride, complaining, foolishness, narcissism, and so very much more.
So… who are you going to be like today… the Samaritan, or the Nine? It’s your call. It is your call every moment of every day; just as it is my call regarding me. By the way… just for the record; I really love cheese (I am thinking it is one of the major food groups… LOL!), but I really don’t like wine… or whine.
Looking Ahead - This week we are beginning to set up the church for the Christmas season. Our tree is going up on Tuesday. Dave Stewart is working on gathering singers for caroling. Our ladies are having their annual Christmas dinner on Friday evening (4th). And my message for Sunday is entitled: “No Love, No God”. So I mean what I say, when I say, “I love you all!” Have an awesome week!