We’ve all seen it in the grocery store. The demanding child who wants candy or a toy, and is screaming bloody murder because he is not satisfied. If he does get it, he snatches it and holds it close to the chest as though it was his all along. “MINE” he snaps. When a child snatches a bottle without thanking anybody, it is expected, almost cute. But when that demeanor is exhibited in an adult we find it reprehensible. Our culture is taught that if we have it, we must deserve it. We are a people who feel that we are entitled to every benefit.
We see a good example of this in Scripture. Luke 17 gives us a beautiful picture of God’s grace to man, but it does paint a pretty dismal picture of mankind as well.
“On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.’ When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.’”
“Jesus, Master, have mercy on us” is a prayer. The lepers are desperate and asking the Creator of the universe to help them from their grave situation. Jesus is gracious and obliges them. Yet, only one returns to thank Him and worship Him. It is the Samaritan who establishes a personal relationship with Christ as he returns to give praise. He actually falls on his face and engages in worship. In doing this, he truly receives a greater blessing than the first, as he is not only healed physically, but spiritually as well.
To some degree the lepers were blessed to have the disease. Their desperation was easy for them to identify. Our desperation is not so apparent as we often present ourselves as tidy packages, yet, the desperation is still there, it is merely concealed on the inside. It is true, some do cry out to God, but how often is God thanked or worshipped when He answers those requests? Usually we cry out in times of emergency, in a hospital, or in times of financial crisis. But when times are good we look forward and forget to return to God to thank Him.
Though for the most part leprosy is a thing of the past, God still desires to heal us. But our disease has much greater repercussions than a life of horrendous misery; our disease is sin. If we understand that our sin separates us from God, acknowledge that Christ has been sent by God the Father as a perfect sacrifice for our sins, and accept Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives, we are brought into a right relationship with God. In doing so He doesn’t deliver us from a living hell on earth of leprosy, but from an eternal hell of separation from God. It seems the least we can do is give Him the credit.
I am here to tell you that any blessing you have is because God has granted it to you. Don’t forget that. This Thanksgiving season, don’t forget to turn around, and acknowledge God for all the gifts that He has given to you, starting with the first breath you draw each day. Don’t be like the other nine lepers who don’t get to experience the deeper intimacy with Christ because they feel entitled to their blessings.
Give credit where credit is due. Happy Thanksgiving!
[The Shepherd’s Echo is a previously published TheShepherdsPen]