W e all have needs: Food, water and shelter are some of the things that come to mind for basic needs. Turkey, stuffing, yams, pie crust and pumpkin pie filling were most likely on your list of items …
We all have needs: Food, water and shelter are some of the things that come to mind for basic needs. Turkey, stuffing, yams, pie crust and pumpkin pie filling were most likely on your list of items needed for your Thanksgiving dinner.
As we see those items before us on Thanksgiving Day, do we take a moment to realize who provided for those needs? As we sit around the table fellowshipping with our family, are we grateful for the ability to be there with them? How are we truly responding to Thanksgiving Day or even every single day of our lives?
Luke 17:11-19 is a story that shows us two ways we can respond to God. Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem through the area of Samaria and Galilee. He comes across 10 men who were lepers. These lepers had needs in their lives. Ostracized due to being unclean, these 10 men were in need of healing. Before Jesus had come, they must have longed to be made whole, desiring to be rid of their old life.
Then Jesus comes and they cry out in desperation for Jesus to have mercy on them. Jesus tells them in verse 14, “Go, show yourselves to the priest.”
According to Old Testament law, an Israelite had to go show themselves to the priest in order to be considered cleansed. The 10 men left Jesus and on the way, they were cleansed.
Verses 15-19 says, “And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, ‘Were there not 10 cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?’ And he said to him, ‘Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.’”
We can be just as guilty as the nine lepers who chose to not come back. In our busyness of life, we can easily forget to show gratitude to God for all that he has done. We can find ourselves taking our blessings and running the opposite direction from the one who provided those blessings.
Only one out of the 10 returns back to Jesus. This man was a Samaritan. Samaritans were avoided by the Jews at all cost. Yet it was through this one man that we saw a better way to live and respond. He praises God with a loud voice and falls to the ground in front of Jesus, giving him thanks.
The Samaritan's response shows us he received more than a physical healing. He saw that Jesus was God. Jesus was the one the Samaritan needed and longed for from the very beginning.
Gratitude and worship are connected. The Samaritan gave thanks because Christ’s compassion and powerful work of healing allowed the man to see who Jesus is. His giving thanks is connected to the answered prayer, but it was also part of his praise because it led to being in awe of Jesus. The Samaritan gladly received a gift, but it also led him to the giver … Jesus.
From this encounter we see two ways to respond to God: ingratitude that ignores God or gratitude that worships him. Raising up thanksgiving to God is an invitation to know him.
Do you want to be nine or the one? What are things in your life that you have taken for granted? Think of those things you have taken for granted and offer up a time of praising God for those things.
(Jessica Robinson is the youth pastor at Glad Tidings Assembly of God.)