Presents All Year Long

Usually when I hear the story of Jesus healing the 10 men with leprosy, the focus is on why only one returns to give thanks while the nine do not (Luke 17:11-19). It’s a legitimate question. While one author I read suggests they are “gripped with ingratitude,” I find that hard to believe.

Something tells me that when they thought about it, they were extremely, endlessly grateful. How could they not be? My guess: They got busy. They learned they were healed, they were overwhelmed with excitement, and the moment they realized they could go back to life as normal, they went back to life as normal. They saw family and friends. They gave the hugs and kisses they had been missing. They ate the meals they had been missing. They slept in the bed they had been missing. They became preoccupied and didn’t return to give thanks.

Perhaps I’m projecting my own times of ingratitude onto them. During certain seasons of life, I fall short of gratitude because things are hard. More often than not, though, I neglect gratitude because things are hurried, and I’m too distracted so I fail to do something. That’s the real point. Jesus is not just interested in simply an attitude of gratitude. He wants actions of gratitude too.

Why? Why does Jesus make such a big deal out of this? Is Jesus desperate for the affirmation? I don’t think so. Jesus isn’t hurt that the nine don’t give thanks. They are. Jesus doesn’t need the nine to give thanks. They do. And so do we. Desperately! Bad things happen when we lose gratitude. It hurts our relationship with Jesus, not because be pulls back but because we do. It hurts our relationships with others as expectations grow while appreciation and recognition shrinks. It robs us for joy, peace, and perspective. At the dawn of a new year, stop periodically to look back, look around, and give thanks. The reasons to do so are everywhere.

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