Luke 17:15 But one of them, seeing that he was healed, returned and, with a loud voice, gave glory to God.
This morning, I’m sitting in our sun-room with the double doors open, listening to the rain fall. The summer has ended and signs of fall are approaching. The birds are talking and I can see one of them at my deck shaking the rain off its back. Beyond that are 19 acres of green rolling down to the James River. It’s a beautiful morning and I’m thankful. But am I thankful enough?
It was more than a year of struggling with banks, the owners, God and myself before we closed on our house and this property. Concerning most things, whether want or need, once you have them, it’s easy to shelve thankfulness and think, “Done. Moving on.” Like a to do list, life can become an advancement of check marks in little boxes.
It’s what this leper did. Ten had been healed, but only one got saved that day. In verse19 Jesus says, “Get up and go on your way. Your faith has made you well.” The Greek here for “made well” is literally “saved.” Nine got healed. One got healed and saved. Why? He went back. To be clear, Jesus points out it wasn’t the action of returning that saved him. It was his faith. At some point while they were all on their way to the priest, this one had a deep and powerful revelation of who Jesus was.
The nine went on for a clean “stamp of approval” but the one returned to the Approver.
The nine went on for human justification but the one returned to the Justifier.
The nine went on excited to be healed and in community but the one returned to commune with the Healer.
I wouldn’t be sitting in this beautiful little spot in the Ozarks if it hadn’t been for the help of my dad. I haven’t forgotten that and I often “go back” and thank him for it. But there’s an important question to ask that illuminates a tendency in all of us.
Is the weight of gratitude for what I’ve received equal to the desire of what I wanted?
Human tendency is for this scale to be imbalanced. Most often, desire is greater in weight than the gratitude for its fulfillment.
The ten lepers desperately sought out Jesus with a real need. They cried out to him from a distance for mercy. They were sick, in pain and ostracized. It was evident their desire was great. But only one had a gratitude of equal weight and it drove him back to the feet of Christ.
Go ahead and do an inventory of blessing now. You might review all the check marked boxes and decide to do what the one leper did; Go back.