Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving In Action

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Today, I can't help but think about what it truly means to give thanks. Is it merely an acknowledgement of what God has done for us? Or is it more?

While contemplating on this, God brought a pretty cool Bible account to mind. I'd like to share it with you.

"Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between
Samaria and Galilee. As he was going to 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 Jesus 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?
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 17:11-19

I can't help but wonder, while reading this parable, if my life might reflect the same attitude, not of the leper who returned to praise Jesus for what He had done, but rather, the other nine who didn't. 

If we take a close examination of this account, we find these lepers were ostracized. During those times, one could discover whole communities of lepers who lived outside of cities. Due to their uncleanliness, the Law stated they must live outside of towns and away from society (Leviticus 14:46). This also explains why the lepers cried out to Jesus from a distance. As unclean people, they were not to go near a clean person. 

But then it gets interesting. Jesus instructed the lepers to go and show themselves to the priest. In order to return to society, the Law demanded that a priest examine the healed person and pronounce them as clean (14:1-3), as well as purify them (Lev 14:4-9). The Law also demanded the cleansed person give the required offering for their cleanliness (Leviticus 14:10-32). 

So, these men make their way to the temple (a place they haven't set foot in quite some time, due to the regulations of the Law). Only one man returns to thank Jesus. Notice, he didn't make it to the temple, then return to the thank Jesus. No, he stopped in the middle of his journey and returned to Jesus.

This kind of thankfulness moved the man to action. Sure, this man had been away from his family for a long time. Sure, he'd lived outside of town far too long, away from community and normal society. Continuing on his journey to the priest would have ensured he returned to his family and society much quicker. This man could have even praised God as he continued on his journey, uttering verbal praises the whole way to the temple.

Yet, his thankfulness for healing compelled him to do something. It compelled him to action.  This all brings me to my point. Have we been so thankful for what Jesus has done for us, that we literally stop in the middle of our journey and do something to show our gratitude? 

Let's do something to turn our thanks into action! 

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