- All ten sick men were desperate, begging for mercy from a safe distance.
- All ten sick men called Jesus “Master,” recognizing His power to heal.
- All ten sick men responded in obedience, turning to go to the priests, as Jesus instructed.
- All ten sick men were cleansed.
So what made the difference for the “other nine” who didn’t come back to give their thanks to their Healer? Maybe the answer lies in the action verbs. The one healed Samaritan saw he was healed and “turned back, praising God with a loud voice.” His healing prompted him to change course and pour his newly born energy into praise. But the other nine? The last we know of them is that “they went.” It appears that as they were cleansed, they just kept going. We read that and shake our heads, with a “tsk, tsk, tsk.”
Ingratitude doesn’t stop. Ingratitude gets what it came for and moves on. Ingratitude has places to go and things to do that are too important to take time for being thankful. It focuses on the “thing” received, instead of the Giver.
On Tuesday Kathy helped us understand that gratitude is “a response to a grace given; the acceptance of a kindness done with the acknowledgement that it was undeserved.” The ungrateful nine didn’t respond. The ungrateful nine didn’t acknowledge that their healing was undeserved.
No one wants to be the “other nine.” When we receive God’s kindness daily, we choose whether or not to run off with our loot along with the nine or turn around with the one. What makes the difference for us? Back to verbs, the key may be in what the one did that the nine did not: “when he saw…”
Before the one responded with gratitude, we’re told “when he saw that he was healed…” he did what the crowd did not. The words here mean to observe and pay attention to something with the eyes, but the verb “saw” also means to “know” with understanding. When he visibly saw his healed body, he knew the power of Jesus was the source of the change, the same Jesus he called out to for help. The verb tense indicates that it was as he was in the process of observing and knowing he had been healed that he turned around to give thanks. We are so much better at calling out for help than turning around to give thanks.
While his priority was the Master healer, the priority of the majority was that they got what they wanted and ran off with it.
- I don’t deserve the good things I am given.
- God is the source of all good things.
- To omit gratitude is to misunderstand who I am and Who God is.
The other nine grieved the heart of God, but the one glorified Him. To those diseased by sin and crying out for healing, God promises, “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly, I will show the salvation of God!” (Psalm 50:23)
If we want to be like the crowd, we can “take, run, and go.” If we want to be like the one, we must “stop, turn, and drop.”
What is your greatest distraction to stopping, turning, and taking time to give thanks?