The Thankful and the Thankempty
We begin today with this portion of scripture…
“While He 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, NASB).
You probably know the story… Jesus healed ten lepers who were in need and who came to Him for help. He told them to go to the priest and all ten were healed as they went. I say, all ten were healed. One returned Jesus to give thanks… to say ‘Thank you.’ Well, it must have been more like ‘Thank you, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!’ I mean, he was after all just healed of leprosy! The other nine lepers, however, did not return with their gratitude. Presumably they just went on their way to the priest. They needed his declaration of wholeness, of now being “clean,” in order to fully and freely return – not to Jesus, but — to their society… their world.
Still, Jesus did not revoke their healing. He had not asked that they return, that was of their own decision, or not. Perhaps for some the thought never entered their mind. But all ten were healed.
Only one returned to thank Jesus. Of this one leper Matthew Henry comments, “He turned back towards him who was the Author of his cure, whom he wished to have the glory of it, before he received the benefit of it.”
There is a Great lesson in this observation, but my point today is not so much that we should be like the one and return thanks to our Lord, although that would be a very good point indeed. No, my point is that we must be like Jesus, content to do good to those who return to us no thanks at all, to those who are apt to be the overwhelming majority.
Our flesh will want to revoke the good we may have done to thankless persons, but did not Jesus say such goodness is measured in heaven as though we had done, or had not done, or had revoked having done it, to Him?
“God so loved” not because we were worthy, or loveable, or kindly, or would thank Him in return. “God so loved” while we were still rebels, lost, sunk deep in sin. God loves because “God IS Love” and this same love now indwells every believer. Love others, regardless of thankful response, love them for the glory of God.
Happy Thanks-giving Day Canada!