Breaking the chains that bind: The chain of self-indulgence (Week 4)

September 8, 2014

“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?””
– Luke 17:17-18

In the final installment of this series regarding Breaking the Chains That Binds, this writer will wrap up with the conclusion of the Chain of Ingratitude. As the Scripture notes above, Jesus healed ten lepers but only one returned to give thanks. This biblical narrative blatantly illustrates the sin of ingratitude. After the nine lepers’ demonstrated ingratitude to Jesus for their healing, Jesus seized the moment to teach the disciples two valuable lessons:
1. It does not take much faith to tap into the power of God. The disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith and Jesus made a parabolic statement about faith. The Greek expression Jesus used in Luke 17:6 is not judgmental, rather it is affirming. “If you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘May you be uprooted and thrown into the sea,’ and it would obey you!” What Jesus was really saying to the disciples is: ‘you have faith, but what you need to do is live and act in faith.’ As is the case with most believers, we do not use nor live in the faith we have. Like these disciples, we think faith is a formula or ritualistic and it is not. Faith is personal and relational and it abides in the one in whom we trust.
Jesus commended the one leper that returned to give thanks for his faith because he acted on what Jesus commanded him to do. From the reading of Luke’s narrative, this leper never heard Jesus preach a sermon nor ever heard Jesus teach; yet this leper demonstrated faith. Therefore, what Jesus was saying is it doesn’t take much faith to get in touch with the power of God. If we have the faith the size of a mustard seed…then we must use it!
2. True gratitude calls us to go beyond what is merely expected! Many of us are so accustomed to doing the minimal, just enough to get by. The nine lepers who went to show themselves to the priests only did what Jesus commanded them to do, but the one who returned went beyond the call of duty. It was not a Jew, rather a Samaritan who returned. It was the one who was despised in his day. Yet, Jesus used this leper to teach the world about gratitude! This Samaritan, when he saw he had been healed, returned, fell on his face and praised God. This leper could have kept going, like the other nine lepers, but he stopped, did an about-face, came back and fell at the feet of Jesus and gave glory to God. This writer believes this leper gave thanks and glorified God because of who he was! He was a leper – but after the healing, he was clean! This leper was ostracized, but after being healed he could return to his home and community! The leper’s cleansing was important, but his praise was that Jesus delivered him from what he was!
Beloved, often we thank God for our achievements and successes, but we have not always been successes! Like this leper we must praise God we are no longer who we were! To neglect to give God thanks for His many blessings is like biting the hand that feeds you and slapping the face that saved you. Like this leper when you know you have been released from your burdens and who it was that set you free…you too should be compelled to fall down and worship Jesus the Christ! To break the chain of ingratitude, remember to thank God for all things God has and does for you, large or small blessings, significant or seemingly insignificant blessings, and at ALL times walk in the spirit of gratitude!

“Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.”
– Psalm 103:2

The writer does not assume responsibility in any way for readers’ efforts to apply or utilize information or recommendations made in these articles, as they may not be necessarily appropriate for every situation to which they may refer. Rather, the objective is strictly informative and educational. If you would like to contact Rev. Lester, write to her c/o P.O. Box 121, Brookfield, WI. 53008.