Summary: Sometimes we get busy and forget to say Thank You for all that God has done for us. Being thankful is very important to God. When we have a thankful heart, we are showing God that we recognize where our blessings come from. It also reminds us to keep our
Opening illustration: One day a father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of showing his son how poor people live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?"
"It was great, Dad." "Did you see how poor people live?" the father asked. "Oh yeah," said the son.
"So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?" asked the father. The son answered: "I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have a fence around our property to protect us; they have friends to protect them."
The boy’s father was speechless. Then his son added, "Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are." Isn’t perspective a wonderful thing? Makes you wonder what would happen if we all gave thanks for everything we have, instead of worrying about what we don’t have.
Let us turn to Luke 17 in God’s Word and catch up with the ‘Thankless Story’ …
Introduction: Leprosy was a terrible skin disease. It was infectious and contagious. There were strict rules which a leper had to observe. The person had to live outside the camp away from other people so the disease would not spread. If the sores went away, the leper had to go to the priest to be examined. If the priest said that the man was no longer contagious, he could go back and live with his family.
Sometimes people got the disease because they had disobeyed God. Miriam, the sister of Moses, got leprosy because she and Aaron, her brother, said that God should be speaking through them as He did through their brother Moses.
We also know about a rebellious king of Judah by the name of Uzziah who contracted leprosy. At the beginning of his reign, he was a good king, but later he began to disobey God. He decided to go into the temple to burn incense to God. Only the priests were allowed to do this, and he was not a priest. He had leprosy the rest of his life and had to live in a separate house.
The story about the ten lepers occurred when Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. The men met him, but stayed a distance away. (The law said a leper must not come near and must call out "Unclean!" so people would know he had leprosy.) These men called out, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" They knew he had healed others. Jesus told them to go and show themselves to the priests, and as they were going, a wonderful thing happened. Their skin became clean and free from leprosy! We can just imagine the joy they felt. Nine of the men continued on to go see the priest, but one man turned back and came to Jesus. He was praising God with a loud voice, and he fell at Jesus' feet and thanked him. This man was a Samaritan who was hated by the Jews. Jesus asked where the other nine men were. Ten were healed, but only one came back to say "Thank you", and he was a foreigner. Jesus told the man, "Rise and go. Your faith has made you well."
How to build up for ‘Thanksgiving?’
1. There is a Need/Desperation (vs. 11-13)
Jesus meets up with a band of 10 lepers. We know that Jews and Samaritans had no dealings but out of them all there is one Samaritan. Here is one example of great law of life. A common misfortune had broken down the racial and the national barriers. In the common tragedy of their leprosy they had forgotten that they were Jews and Samaritans and remembered only that they were men in need. Surely one of the things which should draw all men together is their common need of God.
We don’t know how long these men were lepers but what we know is that they were lepers indeed as they were isolated from society and were not permitted to come and be a part of the community till they were completely healed. These men had waited for quite some time for someone to come and cure them. Their need was healing! Today what is your need?