On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, 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 cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered,
"Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?
Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" And he said to him, "Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well."
I had a rough day yesterday in which some minor, passing issues were weighing on me heavily. I had read this passage in the morning, but it was not until evening when I was pouring out my grievances to God that He reminded me of these lepers. Was I grateful for the cleansing He has done in my life? Or am I more like the nine who walked on to the priests without bothering to offer thanks and praise to the One who had made them clean?
It was a humbling thought.
Caught up in my petty problems and hurts, I had forgotten to praise my Lord for the cleansing He has already done in my life. I was like the nine; going on their way, perhaps showing their smooth, healed skin to one another, but forgetting simple courtesy. Their focus was not on the One who healed them, but on the healing itself. Or was it?
Perhaps it was something else that caused them to neglect decorum. I wonder if their minds turned quickly from that miraculous act of mercy to the difficulties that certainly awaited them back at home. They would have to re-enter society. Perhaps their wives or families would hesitate to accept them. Certainly there would be financial concerns from their time spent as exiles with their disease. The Bible does not tell us any of this, but it is possible that they allowed the trials that faced them to crowd out the appreciation that they should have felt and expressed.
I was like that yesterday. Rather than gratitude for all the restorative work God has done in my life to date, I was focused on the healing I wanted Him to do right then. I had allowed worldly concerns to take the place of simple praise for the priceless work He has already accomplished in my heart. Rather than falling on my face in an outpouring of genuine thanksgiving, I was walking past him and brooding on the question of what I need to do in the near future. I had forgotten that He is sovereign and that His will is going to be accomplished quite despite what I say, think, or do about it. All I need to do now is worship Him, praise Him with a loud voice, and fall on my face at His feet in complete surrender. My loathsome and terminal spiritual disease has been remedied, and that alone is grounds for a life concentrated on gratitude and praise.