Your son or daughter’s birthday is coming up and you want to find the perfect gift. The gift that will bring light to their eyes and a shout of, “Wow, thanks!”
After searching you find that gift. You bring it home, wrap it, and set it on the table for the party. After cake and ice cream your child begins to open gifts. When they come to yours, they tear off the paper, barely look at it, set aside, and then grab another gift to unwrap. No bright eyes. No shouts of joy. No “thank you.”
How do you feel? Unappreciated. You don’t even know whether they liked it or not. Maybe you even wish that you hadn’t spent the money.
Jesus must have felt this way when he healed ten men of leprosy, but only one came back to thank Him. He was on his way to Jerusalem when the lepers saw Him. They knew that with their deadly, contagious disease, it was against the law to get near anyone. So they cried out from a distance, “ ‘Jesus, Master, have pity on us!’ ” (Luke 17: 13). And He did.
But Jesus didn’t heal them right then and there. He knew that the law stated that a priest had to declare them “clean” and give them permission to return to society. So He told them to go show themselves to the priests. On the way there all ten were healed! And one of them, when he saw his newly-healed skin, was so excited that he ran back to Jesus. Jesus could hear him coming because the man was shouting praises to God! When he reached Jesus, he threw himself at His feet and thanked Him.
You can imagine the disappointment in Jesus’ voice when he asked the man, “ ‘Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?’ ” (vs. 17). It seems profoundly ungrateful, doesn’t it? These men were going to die! In healing them Jesus gave them back their very lives. But nine didn’t return to say “thank you.”
We ask Jesus for so much. Many of our prayers are for what we want or need. But how many times do we return to say “thank you”? Thanksgiving is coming soon. Let’s not be like the nine lepers who didn’t bother to say thank you. Let’s be like the one who returned, shouting praises to God!