Read Luke 17:11-19
11-13 In the course of his journey to Jerusalem, Jesus crossed the boundary between Samaria and Galilee, and as he was approaching a village, ten lepers met him. They kept their distance but shouted out, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
14-18 When Jesus saw them, he said, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And it happened that as they went on their way they were cured. One of their number, when he saw that he was cured, turned round and praised God at the top of his voice, and then fell on his face before Jesus and thanked him. This man was a Samaritan. And at this Jesus remarked, “Weren’t there ten men healed? Where are the other nine? Is nobody going to turn and praise God for what he has done, except this stranger?”
19 And he said to the man, “Stand up now, and go on your way. It is your faith that has made you well.” (JBP)
We so often complain to God when things don’t go our way. And when things do go our way, we can forget to be thankful and recognise all good things ultimately spring from God. In this story, ten lepers were cured of their leprosy and were instructed by Jesus to get proof of their cleansing from the priests.
Naturally all were delighted, but only one returned to personally thank Jesus. Typically, Luke notes he was a Samaritan. The person who was least likely to be close to God showed the gratitude that the others did not. The others were so caught up with their new-found wholeness that they forgot who granted them that wholeness.
While our text doesn’t spell it out, it may well be that Jesus’ final words to this healed leper suggests that this man was not just cured of leprosy but had become right with God through faith. His thankfulness revealed the humble faith necessary for salvation.
It is so easy to overlook the many and varied blessings that come our way from the hand of God. We may attribute them to good luck or our own hard work. Or we may simply take them for granted. Being thankful to God is much more than good manners. It is a recognition that all good things come from him.