Lessons from an Outcast
As Jesus was travelling from town to town, a group of men stood at a distance calling out to him.
"Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" they exclaimed. (Luke 17:13)
From a distance you may not have been able to see that their skin was riddled with disease, but Jesus knew who they were.
They were lepers, all ten of them.
Those who had leprosy during this time were usually banished to live outside of the village. No one wanted to be near them. They lived in isolation from others and were treated as outcasts.
Not only did they have to live with the terrible effects of a disease but they had to live with the shame, loneliness, and utter hopelessness.
Most people would have walked on by as if they didn't notice, but not Christ. He had compassion on them and gave them a chance for freedom.
When He saw them, He gave them one command. "Go, show yourselves to the priests." (Luke 17:14)
Jesus asked them to take a step of faith to receive their healing. The priests were the only ones who could declare them officially clean in order for them to re-enter society.
They wouldn't have made their way to the priest unless they believed Jesus would make them clean.
Scripture tells us that as they went, they were cleansed.
Yet, only "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..." (Luke 17:15-16)
Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner? Then he said to him "Rise and go; your faith has made you well." (Luke 17:17-19)
For a moment, let us step inside the worn out sandals of a leper. Can you feel their shame; their loneliness; their pain? Have you ever been there?
Surely you would be the one who came back with a heart full of praise to the Master! Or would you?
Has God not delivered you, set you free from bondage, healed you and saved you? Has he not spared your life from death? Does he not take care of you every single day?
Perhaps your response to Christ is more like one of the nine? They must have been overjoyed to receive their health back. Perhaps they thanked God in their heart? They must have been eager to see their friends and family again? Perhaps they couldn't wait to return to their home and have their belongings back?
Of course all of this would have brought them joy. Yet, we wonder, how could they have forgotten about the man who gave them back everything?
Friend, who are you?
Are you the one who went back to thank the Master? The one whose heart was so filled with joy and gratitude that praise and thanksgiving burst at his seams.
Are you truly grateful for what Christ has done for you?
Do you live it out or do you take it for granted?
Pause for a moment and reflect.
How has Jesus showed up for you personally?
By cleansing those lepers, Jesus saved them from a lifetime of hopelessness. What has he spared you from?
In order to live a life of gratitude we need to shift our perspective. Don't allow the frustrations of life keep you from enjoying the blessings.
Learn to stop and smell the roses. Linger in His presence, find contentment and appreciate the little things. Complain less and say thank you more.
May we be like the one who was full of thanksgiving! Let our lives burst with praise and our hearts with gratitude! <3