Anyone who has been pampered, spoiled or blessed with a great education are prone to taking the little things in life forgranted. Meanwhle, the less fortunate are often surprised and take pleasure in being in the presence of blessed individuals. Take for example, the account of ten lepers, nine from Israel and one Samaritan. When each contracted this contagious disease, these social outcasts became friends, able to relate to one another and share their disappontments, frustrations and sorrows. Although considered merely a half Jew, outside of God’s chosen people, these lepers embraced this outsider as their own.
11 While Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing [along the border] between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As He entered a village, He was met by ten lepers who stood at a distance; 13 and they raised their voices and called out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14 When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were [miraculously] healed and made clean. 15 One of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, glorifying and praising and honoring God with a loud voice; 16 and he lay face downward at Jesus’ feet, thanking Him [over and over]. He was a [c]Samaritan, Luke 17:11-16.
After Jesus took pity on these 10 lepers, the Israelites went immediately to the priest. These Jews had grown accustom to presenting themselves to priests in order to become ceremonially clean. This is how these young men wee raised. Lacking this tradition, the Samaritan who was healed was blown away, overwhelmed by the mercy bestowed upon him. This emotional response compelled this Samaritan to return to Jesus to offer up praise and thanksgiving to God. Apparently, the other nine lepers who were healed went on with the rest of their lives without stopping to give thanks.
17 Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten [of you] cleansed? Where are the [other] nine? 18 Was there no one found to return and to give thanks and praise to God, except this foreigner?” 19 Jesus said to him, “Get up and go [on your way]. Your faith [your personal trust in Me and your confidence in God’s power] has restored you to health,” Luke 17:17-19,
This season of thanks is as good of a time as any to reflect upon this biblical passage. As children transform into teenagers and then into young adults, joy for life can be lost. This pattern often repeats itself as parents tend to lose sight of what’s really important in this life. Before long, religious traditions replace an intimate relationship with God. Instead of being filled with a spirit of appreciation, human souls forget to stop and give thanks to God. If 2019 finds you stuck in an endless cycle void of thanksgiving, may this foreigner’s recognition of thanks inspire you to be more thankful in 2020 and beyond.
by Jay Mankus