Readings for October 13, 2019
2 Kings 5:14-17
2 Timothy 2:8-13
The Gospel says that only one of the ten lepers whom Jesus healed “returned to give thanks to God.” Only one in ten. And I must sheepishly admit that I probably would not be the one.
Afterall, it isn’t as though only one was happy to be healed. All ten had, after all, been stirred by their desire to be healed, and boldly and purposefully called Jesus by name and title (“master”), and asked for pity. So it is not such a leap to presume they were overjoyed, and even grateful to have received their greatest desire. And neither were any of the ten without faith. In fact, all ten had enough faith to do as Jesus instructed, setting off to show themselves to the priest before they had been cleansed of their disease.
So if all felt gratitude, and all had faith, why was it that only one returned to give thanks to God? I believe it is because in being thankful for, the nine forgot to be thankful to.
Which, is understandable. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of a gift, especially one where we are given the ability to return to our community and to our family after resigning ourselves to isolation. And I can see why the nine were quick to run back to their homes rather than back to Jesus, and I know that I have done the same upon receiving many of my own blessings. But while this seems normal, perhaps routine, it ignores the giver. And that is something I should never do. Rather, as the Psalm proclaims, we should “sing joyfully to the LORD.”
For in ignoring the giver of the gift, I have received a blessing but have not gone deeper than the surface level of physical healing. In the Gospel story, only the single Samaritan who gives thanks to God is given full healing, a second blessing, and an increase in faith.
God, in His mercy and through His Son, is always ready to heal me. But the expectation is that I come to Him and ask for that healing, and that I thank Him when it is received. For He does so in hopes of establishing a relationship with me, through a deeper faith. I wish to follow my Lord’s will, and building our relationship is important to me as well, so I will work not to get caught up in the moment of healing and miss out on the full saving power of our Lord and God. I will remember to return to prayer daily, not only to ask God for healing or for blessings, but to thank God for every day, every gift, and every blessing He has already bestowed. To Him be the glory, forever!
In all circumstances, give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
-1 Thessalonians 5:18