“And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at his feet giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.”
– Luke 17:15-16 KJV
One Saturday morning, a couple walked into an Adventist church to ask to be prayed for. The man was about to undergo surgery in a couple of days and wanted God to have mercy on his life, anoint the surgical team and heal him from his condition. His condition was quite severe and surgery could be potentially fatal seeing that it was heart surgery. The couple mentioned how they had not been attending any church for quite some time and had somewhat walked strayed away from their faith. However, at this critical junction in the man’s life, the couple did not know who better to turn to than Jesus. A little over a week later, husband and wife returned to the church to thank all those who had prayed with them and praised God. Their heart was full because of what God had done for them and they wanted others to know it.
Just like this man who underwent surgery, we find a leper in the story of Luke 17 who was healed by Jesus. Initially, ten lepers presented themselves to Jesus begging for healing and a miracle. Nine were Jews or believers and one was a Samaritan, essentially a foreigner as Jesus called him. The Samaritan leper did not know God as the other nine did. He knew of God but he was not part of God’s initial chosen nation. Yet, he believed in God!
When Jesus saw the ten lepers, he had compassion on them and sent them to go show themselves to the priest (only the priest could declare someone clean again see Leviticus 13:9-17). All ten started to make their way to the direction of the temple where they would find the priest as directed by Jesus. However, one leper noticed that as he walked, his skin cleared and leprosy disappeared.
Instantly, his heart was overwhelmed with joy, gladness, and excitement as he realized that he was healed. Instantly, he knew who had made this miracle possible. And just as instantly, he turned back to praise his Lord, to glorify Him and give Him a heartfelt thanks. Instantly, he was full of gratitude and refused to hold back the flow of gratitude surging from his heart over what Jesus had done for him.
Oh, the joy that this one leper experienced! This Samaritan leper was more concerned with praising God and giving thanks than he was with showing himself to the priest. Who knows how many years he had been dealing with leprosy? How many years had he been excluded from society and from going to the temple? How many years had he sat at the city gate desperate for a touch from God and compassion from those passing by who ignored him? How many years did he have to scream “unclean, unclean” as someone approached?
If you are like me, you probably think “what a beautiful heart this man had”! But friend, does it not bring you to question yourself: how often do you and I fail to run back to Jesus and praise Him as we should when he does amazing things for us no matter how big or small? What is your attitude when Jesus does anything for you? Do you stop dead in your tracks to give him glory as you fall at your feet or do you keep going thinking you’ll come back to praise him later? And perhaps later you even forget to praise him. This reveals and unmasks my heart. What about yours? Do you constantly live with an attitude of gratitude? Do you walk with a grateful heart as this Samaritan did or do you act entitled and think “well it is normal for God to do what I asked since I asked”? Friend, God owes us absolutely nothing.
This story is not only meant to have us pause and think about the attitude of our hearts, but it also brings to our attention how we relate to God. Consider how the nine lepers that did not return to give glory to God. The nine were Jews, meaning they knew they were part of God’s chosen nation at the time and they knew all about God. However, they were all about following rules and traditions. They did not know how to have a personal relationship with God, and to see Him as ABBA, Father. Since they knew that God was a God who can do all things, they did not hesitate to make their request with the expectation of receiving healing. Yet, their hearts were more focused on what God could do for them and not on what they could do for God and showing Him their love and appreciation. They felt entitled. They assumed that since they were God’s chosen people, it was only natural that He should answer their request. Not one of the nine Jewish lepers returned to give glory to God. But the stranger, the foreigner, it was he that was full of faith and his heart was ready to not only receive from God but also give… give his praises, give his love and adoration. And because of such faith, because of such attitude towards God, this leper was healed. What would your faith say about you?
Would it say that you believe in God as much as you love him? Would it say that you knew God could do the impossible and before He did, you were ready to break out into praise? Would it reveal a true worshiper?
Friend, God wants you to believe in Him, to believe that when you ask you will receive according to your faith but He also wants a true worshiper, one whose heart is always full of gratitude. He desires a people who operate daily from a place of love, praise, and gratitude. So today, I invite you to examine your heart and your praises.
Do you praise God as He deserves? Do you praise Him daily regardless of the circumstances of your life? Friend, it’s time to break out in praise and give thanks to a God who owes us nothing yet gives us everything we need, and is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think. It’s time to walk constantly with a heart and an attitude of gratitude.
Heavenly Father, how great you are! Lord, today I want to walk with a heart of gratitude, thanking you for all the wonderful things you have done in my life and in the lives of others around me. Lord, I praise you for your love, your goodness, compassion, forgiveness, and grace. I praise you Lord because you are worthy of my praise. I praise you simply for who you are. I praise you that you always give me what I need and not necessarily what I want. I confess that sometimes I don’t always praise you as I should and for that I’m sorry. From this day forth, I want to praise you even before I see you act. Father, forgive my ingratitude of the past and help me to always walk before you with an attitude of gratitude regardless of what takes place in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.