Summary: We seem to have forgotten how to show our gratitude. This sermon has a quiz and eleven blessings for which we can be grateful.
Luke 17:11-18 “As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.
One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?”
The event, LoveDenver, occurred this weekend in the small community of Denver, NC. LoveDenver is a joint effort of local churches to minister to those less fortunate around us. This year eight churches participated. There were over 400 volunteers. More than 2000 people were ministered too. In addition to distributing 500 fully loaded backpacks for those returning to school, haircuts were offered along with free dental and medical screening. Each family was allowed to receive a free 8x10 photo. For some this was the only time their family had been photographed. Local churches and agencies that offered assistance distributed information. There were bounce houses, face painting, crafts, and games. Hamburgers, hot dogs, and pizza were supplied. On the stage worship bands played (including True Identity) and a gospel message was shared. At the prayer tent, prayers were lifted up and there were 17 salvations. However, the story that touched me the most was that of a pastor of one of the participating churches.
“As I was standing at the exit gate speaking to people as they were leaving, I was approached by a Latino family. I knew enough Spanish to say ‘Good-bye’ and they responded. But they seemed not to know a great deal of English. It was evident that the two women with five children were very happy. Then the smallest child who looked to be about 5 years old suddenly hugged my leg in the only gesture that he knew to say thank you.”
As we read this scripture about Jesus and the ten lepers there were interesting facts that caught my attention. Jesus is on his way Jerusalem. There He will meet his death on the cross. As He is traveling, He enters a village that sets on the border of Galilee, the home of the Jews, and Samaria, the home of the Samaritans. As history has taught us, the Jews and the Samaritans are enemies. However, they seem to have bonded over a common problem, leprosy.
As He enters the village, He is accosted by the cries of ten lepers; nine are Jews, one is a Samaritan. They were crying out to him because they were not allowed to approach or touch anyone. To do so could be a death sentence.
Jesus hears them and tells them to go show themselves to the priests. Jesus was fulfilling a spiritual mandate that stated if you were healed of leprosy; a priest must pronounce you clean. What’s interesting is the fact that they were not healed. They still had leprosy. Jesus asked them to do something that made no sense but, because of their faith, they obeyed. As they obeyed, they were healed.
Ten men headed for the priest. Ten men were healed. Nine continued onward. One came back to Jesus. One came back to worship at his feet. One came back to thank him. This one was the Samaritan. And it did not go unnoticed by Jesus. He asked “Didn’t I heal ten? Where are the other nine?” If you are a stats person, that means 90% did not thank him. I believe that stat stands today.
A pastor came up with a quiz to assess where you stand when we speak of gratitude.
Question 1: You are in the 10 item; cash only line at Food lion with your 2 cans of green beans and 1 can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup and a fresh $20 bill from an ATM machine in your hand. The person in front of you has 15 items and a checkbook in their back pocket. How do you respond?
A. Gratitude for the Green Bean Bake your family will enjoy.
B. Grit your teeth and wonder if the guy ahead of you failed math or reading.
C. Yell at the cashier, “Checkout Line Violation -- 15 items! 15 items!”
Question 2: You receive a letter from the IRS, stating you will soon be receiving a $1,000 refund on your tax return, how do you respond?
A. With gratitude to live in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave.