Going Deeper 10-9-19

The Gospel reading for Pentecost 18…

Luke 17:11-19   On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee.  As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, 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 made clean.  Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice.  He prostrated himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan.  Then Jesus asked, "Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they?  Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?"  Then he said to him, "Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well."

 

I have reached a point in my theological journey where I see gratitude as being an essential—perhaps the most essential—quality of a Christian life.  Some might wisely challenge that assertion by pointing to love as being most important thing (see 1 Corinthians 13).  But I believe that love flows from—and is fueled by—gratitude. 

 

From the beginning, God has lovingly and graciously blessed the crown of His creation, the human race.  What He asks for in response is obedience fueled by gratitude for His undeserved blessing.  Obedience fueled by fear in non-sustainable.  Obedience motivated by a desire to earn favor is self-centered.  Obedience fueled by love-producing-gratitude is what God desires from us.  And, of course, His desire for us in based on His love for us… which means that when we obey in the right way, we discover the most meaningful and joy-filled life possible.   In truth, we re-discover how we were created to live.

 

The Samaritan’s response in our story ought to strike us as a no-brainer.  Being cured of a disease which was not only physical painful and usually terminal, but also one that separated you from your family and the whole community, was an absolutely incredible gift.  Of course he would return and give thanks.

 

We have been cured of a terrible and deadly disease called sin, one which not only ruins lives, but far too often separates us from family and the whole community.  Of course we return and give thanks, and then when our worship is over we continue to express our gratitude through our obedience, fueled by a deep love for the Healer.  Ought this not also be a no-brainer?

 

With You in His Grace,

 

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington, Colorado

 

“No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”