Summary: Here's a sermon to preach for Thanksgiving time.

People Are Often Unthankful

Luke 17:11-19

11 Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.

12Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off.

13And they lifted up their voices and said, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!"

14So when He saw them, He said to them, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.

15And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God,

16and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.

17So Jesus answered and said, "Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?

18Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?"

19And He said to him, "Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well."

Thursday will be Thanksgiving Day.

Every year on the fourth Thursday in November

we gather together with family and friends to enjoy a big meal.

Thanksgiving Day is supposed to be a day

when we give thanks to God

for all the blessings He has given to us.

Unfortunately, there will be many people

who sit down to eat that big Thanksgiving meal

and fail to offer a prayer thanking God for what He has done.

There will be many who are just like the 9 lepers.

We will look at that story a little later.

First, let me tell you another true story.

Around 2 in the morning on September 8, 1860,

the steamship Lady Elgin collided with the schooner Augusta

in Lake Michigan near Waukegan, Illinois.

The Lady Elgin was carrying more than 300 passengers and crew

on a round-trip sightseeing tour from Milwaukee to Chicago.

The captain, not realizing how badly the ship was damaged,

continued toward Milwaukee in the dark.

About a half-hour later, the heavy boilers and steam engine

broke through the weakened hull and the ship quickly tore apart.

Most of the passengers and crew died.

Only a few people reached the lifeboats.

Just when the Lady Elgin took her final plunge,

huge waves took off the upper works of the ship,

but the cabin floated and several hundred people got onto it.

However, the cabin, too, soon broke up,

drowning many passengers

and leaving others clutching small pieces of wreckage.

Many held onto floating debris for long hours in the cold water.

Seventeen people were saved that night

by a Northwestern University student named Edward W. Spencer.

An experienced swimmer, Spencer had a rope tied to his body.

Time after time, he swam through the waves

to grab exhausted passengers.

His associates on the other end of the rope

then pulled him and the victim to shore.

Finally after 6 hours, having reached the limits of his strength,

his body covered with scrapes and bruises,

Spencer passed out.

He woke up in his room in Evanston

where his brother, William, waited on his recovery.

Although he tried to resume his studies,

the physical and emotional toll on Spencer had been severe.

Newspapers around the nation praised his deeds

but he was never completely comfortable with the attention.

The faces and cries of the victims he had not been able to save

forever haunted him.

Spencer never completed his education.

It was almost 50 years before he returned to Evanston

to talk about the wreck of the Lady Elgin.

After his death,

his brother described Edward's private torment:

"His face would turn ashen pale, and he would fasten his great hungry eyes on me and say, 'Tell me the truth. Did I fail to do my best?'"

The conclusion of that true story a little later.

Let's get back to our Bible passage for today.

It's the story of something Jesus did for 10 lepers.

When we stop to think about it,

God really has done a lot for us.

My goal in today's sermon

is to point out what we have in common with those 10 lepers.

Point #1. We have a common disease.

11 Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off.

Notice that it says these lepers "stood afar off".

They had to stand at a distance from Jesus.

Lepers were not allowed to come near anybody.

They had to keep a distance of a minimum of 6 feet

away from other people including their family members.

Leviticus 13:45-46 tells us how lepers were treated.

45 Now the leper on whom the sore is, his clothes shall be torn and his head bare; and he shall cover his mustache, and cry, 'Unclean! Unclean!' 46 He shall be unclean. All the days he has the sore he shall be unclean. He is unclean, and he shall dwell alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.

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