When he [Jesus] saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:13-19)
I have recently been feeling distance with someone who was almost a friend but more of an acquaintance (is there a term for that?) You know, someone that you consistently say hello to or smile at when you see them and there is the potential that you could become fast friends given the time and opportunity but you really don't know them yet? Anyway, I was getting the feeling that I must have done something wrong along the way. Missed a smile, wave, or said something that had in some way offended her because the smiling and waving had all but ceased. I began to pray about it asking God to reveal to me what I might have done to cause this change. It wasn't something that was deeply troubling to me, but noted.
As I was sorting through some old paperwork I found a list of thank you cards that I needed to write. I had made the list quite some time ago shortly after the birth of my son and evidently had written the list and then completely forgotten to write the notes. On that list was the name of this individual. She had made an effort by doing something for me during those crazy sleep deprived days and it had meant a lot to me. It began to register that because I hadn't ever written the thank you card and we don't speak often that she probably had no idea that her contribution to my life had made a difference. I debated whether or not I should go ahead now and write the note. I felt silly because so much time had passed and I wasn't sure how to say, "remember that time way back when..." But I remembered this story of the ten lepers and how only one had come back to say thank you so I went ahead and did it. I decided that regardless if the note would mean anything to her or not that I should at least communicate my gratitude. Is it really ever to late to thank someone for contributions that they have made in your life? Possibly in death, but while we still have breath I believe that we should praise the Lord and express gratitude generously.
Can you imagine standing there with Jesus when he asked where the other nine lepers that he had just healed had gone? Only one in the ten had stopped and taken the time to come back and thank the Lord. I'm sure that each of us if asked would say that we would have immediately gone back and said thank you. After all it was an amazing healing! But think of the life these men had lost during this time of their illness. They had not been allowed to see family or friends. They had been isolated and could not wait to get back to their lives. They may have praised Jesus's name to others, but did not actually stop to thank the Lord himself. I would hate to have been remembered as "one of the nine." Although I am certain that there are times when the Lord has blessed me and I have gone on my merry way enjoying the blessing but have forgotten to stop and verbalize the thank you to Him.
I have just mailed the card. Maybe it will bring back the smiles and friendly exchanges and perhaps it won't. Either way, I have been reminded to go out of my way to have a thankful heart and to occasionally praise God in a loud voice, to throw myself at Jesus's feet and thank Him.
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