Monday, November 23, 2009


As I have thought about Thanksgiving in these recent days, there has been one story from the Bible that has returned to me repeatedly. It strikes me that it goes to the very core of Thanksgiving, because I believe, ultimately, that our attitude at Thanksgiving is directly tied in to our attitude toward God. If we see God as the source of all good and all life then we are tremendously, eternally, "fall at His feet" grateful for our lives, the cross, and all that He has done. Every single thing that we start to take credit for ourselves or attribute to luck or skill or whatever, other than God, erodes that plateau of Thankfulness toward God.

I believe that the Biblical lepers were a tremendous picture of the state of man. We are cast out, cut off, sick and dying. The difference between them and others is that their sickness was/is so obvious they can't deny it. We can find a hundred ways to deny our sickness of soul and deadness of spirit.

But God, who knew ahead every rebellion we would commit, every pain we would cause, and that our life would mean His Son's death, gave us life, and gave us His Son that we might have relationship with Him restored. Every man, woman, and child on earth should be "fall at His feet" grateful to Him, but so few are. Even those who know and believe in His truth often (myself included) live in a posture of grumbling, lack of gratitude, and failure to recognize the thousands of beautiful, good gifts He gives us each day—simply because He absolutely loves us beyond measure. Every breath, every meal, every bit of love and kindness received or given—it all comes from Him. Our life in the womb, our life on earth, our born again eternal life with Him—it is all a gift.

And so, with all that said, I offer you the following account from the Bible. Read it. Read it again. Read it again. Invite the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to it and to what Jesus would have felt in it, and read it again. For me, this story is the story of Thanksgiving and it has challenged me tremendously. It comes from Luke 17:11-19:
On the way to Jerusalem he [Jesus] was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”

When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed.

Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan.

Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”

And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
Those words of Jesus ring in my ear and touch and challenge my heart, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” I have a sense that no words I can write will evoke in you what this evokes in me. It will have to be a God-thing (and, then again, maybe it is just for me).

God bless you, and may you have a wonderful, blessed, grateful, "fall at His feet" Thanksgiving, whether or not this account touches you like it touched me.

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