"While He [Jesus] was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; and they raised 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 were going, they were cleansed. Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered and said, 'Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine - where are they? Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?' And He said to him, 'Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.'" (Luke 17:11-19)
Monday, November 21, 2011
Thanksgiving week is here!
Yesterday, in my 5th and 6th grade Sunday School classroom, we had a Thanksgiving party with a feast of our own to celebrate the upcoming holiday. While there was no turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, or pumpkin pie, we had a host of other goodies: banana bread, lemon poppy seed muffins, apples with caramel, peppermints and potato chips. I guess this is what Thanksgiving meals might look like if left up to pre-teens instead of adults. And maybe with some Mountain Dew and Pixie Stix thrown in there too.
Before we began "feasting" on all of our blessings, our class read through a familiar Thanksgiving passage found in the book of Luke:
As I read through this passage in preparation for Sunday School, I was struck by the fact that as the leprous men call out to Jesus for mercy, He sends them to the priests. Jesus doesn't lay hands on them and heal their leprosy before sending them to show themselves to the priests. Jesus doesn't speak healing words to them, instantly restoring their skin before sending them to the priests. Instead, Jesus instructs them to go immediately to the priests, to the men who would look them over and declare them "clean", once again fit for society. It was on the way to see these men that the lepers were cleansed and their skin restored. Yet, there was only one of the ten lepers who turned around to thank Jesus for the healing that He gave.
I think it's easy for us to read this account and get angry at those other nine guys. How dare they be so ungrateful that they don't turn around and run to Jesus as well?! How dare they be so rude?! But do you think those nine guys could have been blind to the fact that it was indeed Jesus who had healed them? Do you think they just plain didn't realize that, although they had just cried to Him for mercy, He had brought the healing they so desired?
How often do you think we do the same thing? Unfortunately, I think we are far too often blind to the blessings that the Lord gives to us. We may cry out to Him for a particular pain or struggle; but as time passes and the answer comes later than we initially hoped for, we forget Who we cried to. We forget to thank Him. Or we simply don't see that every single thing we have is from the hand of the Lord and therefore don't thank Him.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, I challenge you to ask the Lord to open your eyes to all that you have to be thankful for. While the general "family, friends, home, and food" is indeed all great things to be thankful for, I believe the list stretches farther and deeper than that. Let's not take for granted every blessing - big and small.