Encircle us and embrace us, God. As the days get shorter, visit us in the busyness of our lives. Awaken us with crisp winds to see your blessings all around us. You are here. We are here. Encircle us in your love. Amen.
Scripture: Luke 17:11-19
On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee.
As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”
“Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice.”
A couple of Halloweens ago, I remember thinking that Halloween is A LOT of work—much more work and effort then I ever thought it would be. No, I am not talking about making homemade costumes—as we reused costumes. I am not talking about getting homework done, dinner made and the kids fed. I am not even talking about tired kids and a heavy bag full of candy. All of this was work, but it wasn’t the hardest part.
The hard part was constantly reminding of the kids to say thank you. On the days leading up to Halloween, I did mock treat or tricking run-throughs—complete with the “Thank You” at the end. And the kids completely nailed all that we rehearsed the first few houses we visited. (As we all know, you always start with people you know, to make sure they got the drill down.)
But after awhile all that practice of making eye contact and saying “Thank you” went by the wayside. Were my kids getting lazy or did they develop a mindset of deserved expectation?
There were quite a few doors where I had to make the kids go back and say, “Thank you.”
Why did I do this? Why did I make what is usually a fun and carefree night so much work for myself?
As I think about it, my drive and concern comes from a sincere desire to cultivate gratitude in my children. I want them to take nothing for granted. I think we all know how easy it is to take things for granted and to think and believe that we deserve good things.
In this story in Luke, our tenth leper certainly shows us what heartfelt gratitude looks like. He unselfishly and consciously praises God, publicly crediting God with this miracle. This is a wonderful example for us, but I think it is more than just a good example. I think that Luke’s lesson for us today is about how the practice of gratitude can be life-changing and life-giving.
Questions to Spark Conversation:
~Our lives overflow with blessings from God, regardless of how much or how little we think we have. Where is God blessing you this day?
~How do you think Jesus felt when the man came back to say “thank you”?
~How can you show gratitude or thanks to God and others?
Spend time this week writing a thank you note to someone who has blessed you this week. Remember to tell them, through a picture or words, how what they did made you feel. The note doesn’t have to be perfectly written; what matters is that it comes from a place of sincere gratitude.