Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” Luke 17:11-19
The story of the ten lepers often slays me.
In Luke 17:11-19, we learn that Jesus miraculously healed ten lepers. They cried out to Him for mercy, and His words alone healed them as they walked toward the temple.
Only one of these ten suffering men returned to thank Jesus. He did so with shouting and praising. He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking Him boldly.
This man was a Samaritan, a member of the class the Jews despised. We can assume that since the text points this out, the other lepers may have been Jews, yet refused to return with thanks.
How often do I cry out to God, receive an answer, then forget to return? How often does this happen to you, friend?
I’m not a Jew, but I have been a believer since childhood. You could say that I know God better than the average person. Yet why do I fail to give thanks?
We are all busy. This fast-paced 21st century living doesn’t make life easy. Even though we’re surrounded by conveniences, our short-term memory often suffers.
I think the reason I often forget is that I want the answer more than I want God. Like the nine lepers, I crave healing, solutions, and relief more than I crave Jesus.
That Samaritan leper offers inspiration for all of us. This dear man had no shame. He shouted! He fell at Jesus’ feet! He was dramatic in his display of thanks. Jesus said the man gave Him glory through his thankfulness.
I want Jesus to praise my faith like He praised the leper’s faith. These are ways I’m learning to cultivate regular thankfulness in my daily life.
Praying during my commute. After I drop my children off at school in the morning, I use that quiet 15-minute drive for prayer. I consciously choose to offer thanks at the beginning before I pepper God with requests. This sets my heart in a humble place.
Offering thanksgiving during exercise. I enjoy walking in the woods and pastures that surround my home. During those walks, I thank God for the beauty of His creation and the ways He constantly renews and preserves my life, just as He does for the grasses, trees, flowers, birds and wild animals.
Meditating on scripture during the night. In my middle age, I’m suddenly struggling with insomnia. In those middle-of-the-night wakes, I choose to offer thanksgiving to God for specific blessings. Connecting with Him in those quiet hours lulls me back to sleep.
Singing in the shower. Unlike the leper, I don’t feel comfortable shouting praises in public. But I will sing them in the shower, where no one else but God is listening. My musical praises are thank-offerings to God.
What everyday ways will you choose as reminders to thank God for all He’s done for you?
Heavenly Father, I confess that I don’t return to thank You when You have answered my cries for help. I want to learn this lesson from the tenth leper, who boldly returned to thank and praise you. Teach me specific ways I can remember to return thanks to You. I thank You now for all the good You do in my life. Amen.