There’s a short but interesting account in the Bible, in Luke 17:11-19, about 10 guys who had leprosy. Many of you have probably heard it before. I read about it and I can’t imagine what it must have been like to live that reality. I can’t imagine how they must have felt every day. Leprosy was a deadly, disgusting and disfiguring disease. Because of the highly contagious nature of the disease, all who had it were cast out from their homes and communities, ostracized from family and friends, quarantined for LIFE. How horrible that must have been. These guys were a miserable lot.
And then Jesus came by. They knew who He was. They had heard about Him.
And they asked Him for something. They asked Him for healing. Healing for their terrible, awful, horrendous disease.
And He did it. He gave them what they wanted more than anything in the world. He gave them their lives back!
Can you imagine the excitement? Can you imagine how they must have felt? They had to have been on top of the world! They were well again! They were whole again! It’s like they were real people again! I can picture them dancing in the street, jumping up and down, whooping and hollering with joy as they went to show themselves to the priest to be declared clean.
As they ran off, there was one guy who came back to thank Jesus for healing him. But only one. None of the other guys came with him. It was just him. He was the only one who remembered to thank Jesus for the amazing gift he had received.
Are you bothered by the behavior of those nine other guys? I don’t know about you, but when I’ve read this story in the past, I have always been quick to judge them as being extremely rude and ungrateful. I couldn’t believe that they would ask Jesus for this gift and then take it and run. I found it beyond appalling that they could be so wretchedly unthankful. Undeserving jerks.
Think about it though. Were those nine men really and truly ingrates? Was it that they were not at all thankful for this life-saving and life-giving gift Jesus had just given them, or do you think maybe they were simply distracted by other things and just forgot about giving thanks? Most of these men had likely not seen their loved ones, hadn’t been able to hug and hold their children or kiss their wives, in quite some time. I imagine the first thing on their minds was to go see the priest and then head straight HOME. They probably just got caught up in their excitement and in their own plans and the things that were on their minds, and they merely forgot to give Jesus thanks. It wasn’t that they were purposefully being rude or ungrateful. They just had other things to do and their focus was on those things. Now was that an acceptable excuse for their behavior? No, but it certainly is understandable, and helps me to offer more grace to them now than I did when I was a kid.
Because isn’t that just like us sometimes? God gives us good things, answers prayers, gives an unexpected blessing, and we are so busy thinking about all the other stuff that’s on our minds that we completely forget to thank Him for what He has done. Even when He lavishly pours out on us the very things that we want more than anything, things for which we have asked Him fervently, we can get so happy–so caught up in all the dancing and jumping and whooping–that the kneeling and thanking goes by the wayside. Even good things can take our minds off of Jesus and keep us from praising Him for the gifts He gives. But God is always looking to see who is going to return and give Him praise. Let’s be faithful to give Him the thanks He deserves!
Lord, may I be like the one man who takes the time to thank You for the abundant blessings you give me. Thank You for all You have done, are doing, and will do in my life. You deserve all the praise and glory! Thank You! Thank You!