As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. As he entered a village there, ten men with leprosy stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.
One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.” Luke 17:11-19
In all simplicity, most people live selfish, self-absorbed lives. Each person trying to get what they need to survive, maintain a level of comfort, or thrive, depending on their inner motivation. Most people are like these nine men who got what they needed, mercy and healing from Jesus, and then disappeared back into the world to make their way, free from the progress-stopping disease that had kept them on the outside looking in, unclean, outcast.
There is a small percentage, one in ten, in this case, who are different. One man realized something significant had been done for him by another. And He simply returned to give thanks, show appreciation. So he fell at Jesus’ feet, thanking Him and praising God for the miracle. Thankfulness.
Jesus told this man that returning and giving credit to God for what He had experienced, this act of faith, had sealed his healing, and not just of the disease. This man was made whole. This is what Jesus does. Yes, He is the Healer of disease, and He is the mender of a broken heart. He is the lover of each soul and the friend that will stay closer than a brother—but He is also the One Who alone can bring life, wholeness, redemption, and restoration to God. And this is what this man, unknowingly, experienced, just by coming back to say “thank you.”
Thankfulness is an unseen power that is lost on the selfish. They will never get it. Humility is the first step toward thankfulness. When we realize that it is by God’s mercy and grace that anything good comes to us in this life, we will be alerted, often, possibly daily or many times per day, that Jesus has protected us, saved us, healed us, held us tight and kept us from doing something stupid—and we will thank Him. Instead of chalking the circumstances of our lives up to good luck, we will see Jesus, active, and working, in our hearts and minds, and thankfulness will become the posture of our life.
Will you be the exception? Or the rule? If you want to be the exception, humble yourself and give thanks today. In fact, this day has been set aside for us to do just that.