PROUD people are not grateful people. Somehow we all fit the category of being proud, one way or the other. It is most certain that gratitude is not in our vocabulary. In the story of the cleansing of the 10 lepers, we see the merciful heart of Jesus when He cleansed all ten lepers and the heart of God when he asked “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine?”
Why is gratitude or thanksgiving so important? First, thanksgiving honors God and second, thanksgiving humbles man. More than religious requirement, a grateful life is the result of a life who encounters the Gracious God. What is clearly seen in the limelight is the dynamic relationship between a Generous Giver and a Grateful Receiver. In the story of the healing of the 10 lepers, we see grief as a gracious mentor for gratitude.
As the gifts of grace become our markers of gratitude, we must not miss the giver of this grace as the timeless model of gratitude. The Giver is Generous, he gave what the lepers truly needed that time...their cleansing! He made hope concrete by healing them of their miserable disease. The Giver is fair, he cleansed all ten! The Giver is faithful...granting them all the chance to make a choice on how they will live their lives, no longer as lepers with rotten skins but as completely cleansed people with a new chance to survive. One thing the Giver chose not to do despite His power was to force gratitude from them. He waited and He waited patiently. Being grateful is not about the ego of the Giver, it’s about the spiritual transformation of the receiver.
I wish to highlight the word “surprise,” the one that expressed gratitude was the one least expected to do it, a Samaritan, meaning, compared to a true-blooded Jew, his exposure to who God is was very limited, a surprise to us, but not to God. This Samaritan is the grateful recipient of grace, a masterpiece of gratitude. Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith healed you” I have a suspicion that the healing Jesus is talking about here is no longer about a skin problem, I believe it’s a about a cleansing deeper than rotten skin. What happened was an affirmation of a man who was no longer a leper in the soul but a man forgiven, a man set free. How do we know this? By the words of gratitude not only from his mouth but from his heart!
Abba, I now slowly realize that grief and grieving are mentors of gratitude. Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come. T’is grace that brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home.
Thank You Jesus. Amen.