“And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.” Luke 17:15-16
Do you know why I do what I do? I do not serve God “in order to” but “because of.” My life has been changed. He has set me free!
Consider the account of Christ’s ministry given to us in Luke 17:11-19. As Christ was making His way toward Jerusalem and His ultimate act of redemption, He passed by a Samaritan village. Ten lepers saw Him from afar and cried out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”
These men were condemned to a life of misery because of the sickness and shame they were suffering, but Jesus had compassion on them. He replied, “Go shew yourselves unto the priests.” As they moved in that direction, they were cleansed.
Can you imagine how they felt when they looked at their bodies and saw that they were cleansed? One of these men returned to Christ. Our Lord made a powerful statement to him: “Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.” All ten of the lepers were healed of their physical malady, but only one came to know the Lord Jesus as his personal Saviour.
What great lessons do we learn from this miracle? They have to do with thankfulness. In II Timothy 3:1-2, the Bible warns us that in the last days there will be an unthankful spirit. We are living in a time of ingratitude. We can glean some things from this miracle that can help us to be more grateful.
The Cause of Gratitude
I am grateful for the measure of health I enjoy, however, it is not always God’s will for people to be well. Remember Paul’s thorn in the flesh? Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he wrote in II Corinthians 12:8, “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.”
The Lord replied, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” If you are grateful only because you are healthy, then when you are not feeling well, you will not be grateful. The Lord says, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
The one real cause of gratitude is that our sins have been forgiven, and we are children of God. Nothing can take that away from you. One evening I was walking through one of the nursing homes in our area, and I said to the man who was with me, “If we live long enough, we will be exactly like these people in this nursing home.” I was struck by how the ravages of time were evident in every one of their lives, but for those who were believers, the hope of eternal life remained.
The Character of Gratitude
How does gratitude behave itself? Often we allow ourselves to get so carried away with all the blessings God has given us that we take our eyes off the One who has given them. In the miracle of the ten lepers healed, only one ran back. With a loud voice, he glorified God and fell on on his face at the feet of Jesus and thanked Him. True gratitude is given to God.
The Consequences of Gratitude
I delight in telling you that Christ has made me whole. I am not all I should be, but I am ready for eternity. I want to do more for Christ because of what He has done for me. My last breath, if it be the next breath, will be my first breath in the presence of the Lord Jesus.
Our lives are so brief; they are over in a moment. The truly grateful person will place the emphasis on eternal things. If knowing Christ is what really matters in the end, then it should matter much more now than it does. It should matter in what we do, how we spend our time, and where we give our money. The world can be divided into two groups: the one who came and the nine who did not. In which group are you?
Christ’s life on earth provides many lessons for the Christian life. Pastor Clarence Sexton began studying and sharing these lessons over fifty years ago when the Lord called him into the ministry. Since then, he has published them in many forms including thirty-five 13-week Bible studies. This article was adapted from one of the lessons in his study, The Miracles of Jesus, Volume 2.