10% Thankful

November 26, 2014

Luke 17:12-19

(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)

I will take a break from the series, What Is The Perfect To Come? because tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day.  This blog is called 10% Thankful.  So your first thought might be, “Oh, this is about tithing – about giving one tenth of your income to the Lord.”  But no, it is not.  Yes, I believe in tithing – even giving more than 10% to God’s work.  My wife and I have been practicing tithing plus for more than 46 years now, and God has always met our needs – not always our wants, but our needs!  After all, Paul wrote in Philippians 4:19, “…my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  And Jesus said in Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over….

But I am getting away from today’s theme.  And that theme is found in Luke 17:12 through 19:

      …as He [Jesus] entered a certain [Samaritan] village, there met him ten men
      who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said,
      “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” So when He saw them, He said to them,
      “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they
      were cleansed. Now one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned,
      and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giv-
      ing Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said,
      “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any
      found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And He said
      to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”

One out of ten gave thanks to God for the gift Jesus had bestowed upon them.  And this was no small gift!!!  Leprosy, in Bible times, may not have been what we call leprosy – or Hansen’s Disease – today.  But whatever it was, it was a life-changing and rarely-cured disease.  The diagnosis and treatment of the disease in Bible times is described in Leviticus chapters 13 and 14.  How life-changing was it?  In Leviticus 13:45 and 46 it is written:

      Now the leper on whom the sore is, his clothes shall be torn and his head bare;
      and he shall cover his mustache, and cry, “Unclean! Unclean!”  He shall be
      unclean.  All the days he has the sore he shall be unclean.  He is unclean, and
      he shall dwell alone; his habitation shall be outside the camp.

These ten men whom Jesus encountered in Samaria were outcasts – socially and literally!  The only social interaction they were allowed to have was with other lepers.  In John 4:9 we learn “The Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.”  They were considered dirty foreigners or despised half-breed Jews at best!  It is said that devout Jews would spit when referring to ‘Samaritans’ to show their disdain for them.  But, apparently, these lepers – implied by the text to be nine Jews and one Samaritan – were bonded together by their common disease.

But – also apparently – they had heard about the miracle worker, Jesus.  And when they met Him they pursued their chance to be healed:  “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” (verse 13).  And they were healed – by the mercy and power of Almighty God through His Son Jesus Christ!  They were healed as they went in obedience to Jesus’ command and Leviticus 14:1 through 32 – to “Go show yourselves to the priests.” (verse 14).

But only one came back to thank the Lord – one despised foreigner, one Samaritan!  Only one was thankful enough to show it!  The other nine – nine of God’s covenant people, mind you – just continued on their thankless way!

If we take the ten lepers to represent each individual one of us, are not we also like them?  Do we too often fail to thank God for our blessings?  Do we thank Him for only one out of ten? Are we not then only 10% Thankful?!!

God’s blessings are manifold.  Psalm 68:19 says, “Blessed be the LORD, who daily loads us with benefits, even the God of our salvation!”  Johnson Oatman wrote in 1897 the famous hymn Count Your Blessings.  In the refrain it says,

                                Count your blessings, name them one by one,
                                       Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
                                Count your blessings, name them one by one,
                                       And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Someone has stated that it should say, “Count your blessings, name them ton by ton”!

God surely has blessed us!  So this Thanksgiving Day – and every day for the entire year! – let us not just be 10% Thankful!  Let us be thankful every day, fulfilling what is written in Hebrews 13:15: Therefore by Him [Jesus] let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.

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