Week 4 | Wednesday
Week 4: What Does Faith Look Like?
Ten Lepers Healed: Thanksgiving
by Janet Nygren
Read: Luke 17:11-19
14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
- Lepers were supposed to remain isolated from other people, and these lepers appear to honor that law as they call out to Jesus from a distance. Jesus is also respecting the law as he tells them to show themselves to the priest, yet that presumes that the lepers have already been healed. What does Jesus’ reaction suggest about his expectations for all the lepers?
- The leper who returned had two counts against him–he was both a leper and a Samaritan. Given the attitudes of Jesus’ day, what might he expect from Jesus? If you put yourself in his shoes, how will life change for him?
- How will this one man’s life be different from the other nine as a result of returning to Jesus full of his praise and thanksgiving?
- What are the “ingredients” for you to experience thanksgiving (or to think about the converse–what prevents us from being thankful)?
- How does a posture of gratitude change your outlook?
- The Jews have a habit of prayer called “blessing the Lord.” It is an attitude of continual thankfulness toward God that expresses itself through brief prayers that acknowledge him as the source of every good thing.
- For example, “Blessed is he who allowed me to sleep last night and leave my burdens with him for a few hours.” Why not see how many times you can do this today, and perhaps consider making a new habit of it? (From the blog: Our Rabbi Jesus, Insights from Lois Tverberg, https://ourrabbijesus.com/articles/blessings-everywhere/)
- Have you ever experienced a change in your outlook as a result of a posture of gratitude?
- What’s it like for you as the giver of a good gift to experience gratitude or not?
Low self-esteem and not feeling good enough have been issues for me for many years. More recently I have come to accept that God has a purpose for my life and created me with specific traits; several of which are positive. Now that I realize that, I can be grateful to Him for those.
I love what God is doing in your life David! You are a great blessing to me and I believe to many! Thankfulness is something I have worked on in my life. I can definitely do better! I remember an Amish poster that said, “What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you thanked God for today?”
Just as one out of ten lepers gave thanks, I suspect I am only thankful for 10 percent (at most) of what God has done for me. I like the idea of “blessing the Lord” during the day because one of the problems is being so focused on other things that I don’t even notice what God is doing. I often pray earnestly for days or weeks about some crisis and then when God gets me through it, I do just what the nine lepers did and forget to thank him, or at most a quick token word of thanks, and then on to the next crisis. I am thankful today for this reminder to stop and pay attention to all of God’s blessings.
When I think about the ingredients for thanksgiving, I think of recognition of need combined with things my heart prizes the most. When one or both of those are met, the joy that results is such a wonderful feeling. This morning I am thankful for the sound of sparrows at my birdfeeder. Blessed is he who makes the sparrows sing, who brought them to my feeder after weeks of waiting and prayer! (I asked my grandson to pray with me that the birds might come visit my feeder, that together we might praise God together.)
I was thinking about the ingredients for Thanksgiving that keep me from being thankful, and that is obviously my selfish self! I am always so convicted by this passage of Scripture. How often am I one of the other nine? What I do try many days is to thank God for every little amazing thing like a flushing toilet and water from the well and incredible snacks to eat and etc. etc. etc. etc. Then I realize that there is so much to be thankful for that I can hardly list it all!!