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One Thankful Man
By Colly Caldwell

As Jesus went from Galilee through Samaria to Jerusalem, He came to a village where he met and healed ten very sick men (vs. 11). He used that event to teach us about gratitude to God.

TEN UNCLEAN MEN
All of these men were lepers and they stood afar off because they might infect others (vs. 12). At least one was a Samaritan. Because of the contrast, it appears the others were probably all Jews. Usually the Samaritan would not have been with the Jews, but misery loves company. All ten were outcasts, Disease like death and sin, equalizes. "All have sinned" (Rom. 3:23). What difference did their birth make if they all experienced living death?
But they all had hope because Jesus was there. They cried out for mercy recognizing that Jesus was the "Master" ("chief commander," vs. 13). "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:6-7).
If anyone could help them, Jesus could. We do not know what they expected. They needed any kind of help. They simply cried out for mercy. Their health was not a right. God was not in debt to them because they had a disease. He owed them nothing. When cured they owed Him thanksgiving. "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!"(2 Cor. 9:15). We should not behave like children who act as if their parents owe them everything they ask for (Rom. 9:14-20).
Jesus commanded them to go show themselves to the priests. That was an act of faith because they had not yet been cured. When they turned to obey, they were all cured (vs. 14; see Naaman, 2 Kg. 5:1-14).

ONE THANKFUL MAN
One man returned to thank Jesus for his new start in life. He fell down at His feet and with a loud voice thanked Him (vs. 15). Jesus said to him, "Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well" (vs. 19).
It would have been logical for him to follow the others to the priests but he first came to Jesus in simple appreciation. By coming back, he received even greater blessing. Literally, Jesus said, "your faith has SAVED you." The others were declared "clean" by the priest, but he was declared "saved" by the Lord. It is wonderful to experience physical healing, but how much more if we experience spiritual healing and eternal salvation? If we have faith to thank God, we will blessed in more and better ways.
The One who returned was a Samaritan while the others were apparently Jews (vs. 15). That was especially significant in light of another story Jesus told…the "Good Samaritan" (Luke 10:30-37).

NINE UNGRATEFUL MEN
You would expect that all ten of the men would have returned to thank Jesus (vs. 17). Jesus wanted them to return…not so much to thank Him as to glorify God (vs. 18). Only the foreigner was thoughtful enough to come back
They should have been grateful for God's providence in bringing Jesus near them. They should have been grateful for Christ's love which made Him pay attention to them. They should have been thankful for the power of God and His grace which brought about their healing. How wonderful if they had all come together to say "THANK YOU!"
Are we the "One Thankful Man" or are we among the nine? Do we take our blessings for granted? Do we fail to thank the Lord? Do we enjoy the gift but forget the Giver? Are we quick to pray when in need, but slow to praise when we receive relief? "Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men" (Ps. 107:8,15,21,31).
It is hard for some to say "thank you." It should not be so. We should teach our children to say "thank you." My mother always asked two things. QUESTION: "What do you say?" ANSWER: "Please." QUESTION: "Now what do you say?" ANSWER: "Thank you."
Gratitude reminds us of our reliance on God. We see His hand in our lives (Acts 17:25-28). If God decided it would never rain again, what could we do? Our heartbeat depends upon Him.

Unthankfulness is the source of many other sins. "Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened" (Rom. 1:21f). If you think that you don't have much to thank God for, thank Him that you do not have leprosy! And always remember: Count your blessings! "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him" (Col. 3:17).

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