Summary: We tend to be ungrateful and forget the One who has blessed us so abundantly. Jesus teaches us to be grateful in this account of the ten lepers' cleansing.
1. Thankless Tasks:
A man stood writing at the post office counter one day when an older man shuffled up to him with a postcard in his hand.
"Sir," the older man said, "would you please address this postcard for me?"
The first man gladly consented, and wrote what the older man dictated to him, and even signed the man's name to the postcard. When he finished, he extended the postcard and asked, "Is there anything else I can do for you?"
The old fellow looked at the card, thought for a moment, and then answered, "Yes. At the end, could you just put 'P.S. Please excuse the sloppy handwriting!"
"A lady known as an incurable grumbler constantly complained about everything. At last her preacher thought he had found something about which she would be happy, for her farm crop was the finest for miles around. When he met her, he said with a beaming smile, `You must be very happy Mary. Everyone is saying how healthy your potatoes look this year.' `True they're pretty good, but what am I going to do when I need bad ones to feed the pigs.'"
a. The Hebrews seemed to grumble regularly
b. Draining; Joy-stealing
2. Luke 17.11-19
a. Imagine the joy at their healing
3. Only ONE Thank You -- a Samaritan, a Foreigner
a. His faith healed and saved him (v. 19)
b. Allusion to Naaman's healing in 2 Kings 5 -- a foreigner
I. Possible Pictures of Ingratitude
Imaginary conversation with the Nine:
#1 -- I did what I was told, I went to the Priest. Legalists tend not to be grateful. Everything is a duty or obligation.
#2 -- I went to see my family and celebrate my recovery. I meant to thank Him, but by the time I got back, He was gone.
#3 -- I AM grateful, I just didn't know he expected thanks. After all, doesn't he do this sort of thing for a living?
#4 -- I am not sure this healing is to my advantage. I used to collect alms by begging. Now, I will have to get a real job.
#5 -- I am healed, but not happy with the way I look. He should have made me look 15 years younger. If he can heal leprosy, surely he can improve my looks.
#6 -- I feel too guilty to celebrate. There are still hundreds of lepers who aren't healed.
#7 -- O, I plan to thank him, eventually. I have been so busy I just gotten behind, you know, all of those talk shows and interviews.
#8 -- I am afraid to go back and thank him. He can be really demanding. I heard that he told one guy to sell all of his possessions to follow him. I don't want to be a fanatic, he may just want too much in return.
#9 -- You know, I did get better, but maybe it was just a coincidence
II. Potential Practices for Gratitude
"Gratitude is the mother of all virtues." G.K. Chesterton
Former Preaching Minister for the Southeast Christian Church, Bob Russell once described an imaginary conversation with the nine who did not return. He asked them why they did not thank Jesus. With some slight tweaking, here are their responses:
#1 -- Seek God, not wealth -- Proverbs 30.8-9
8 Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,
9 lest I be full and deny you
and say, "Who is the LORD?"
or lest I be poor and steal
and profane the name of my God.
a. Affluence or poverty can make us ungrateful
b. Affluent people rarely express gratitude
1. "I don't pray; I have everything." Andrew Carnagie
2. Compare with Psalm 23
#2 -- Stop Comparing -- 2 Corinthians 10.12
Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.
* Their kids are better than our kids
* Her husband is more romantic than mine
* Their house is bigger/better than our house
* Their preacher is more talented than our preacher
* His salary is higher than my salary
Comparisons rob us of gratitude -- John 21 -- Peter asking about John
#3 -- Acknowledge All is God's, Not Yours -- Psalm 24.1
The earth is the LORD's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein,
Suppose a wealthy man came to you with a request. He has to go overseas on business and needs someone to watch his estate and asks you. He tells you that he has arranged for someone to clean the house, take care of the lawn but needs someone he can trust to stay in his house the months he is away. He says that you can live in his mansion, drive his cars (BMW; Jaguar; or one of the antiques). You can use the swimming pool anytime. The entertainment center in the lower level of the house is yours to enjoy anytime. You can even take the boat out on the lake. He does not know how long he will be gone, he is predicting six months but it could be more or it might end up only being a couple of weeks. He tells you to enjoy yourself until he gets back. "Mi casa, su casa."