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The Thankful Leper


The Thankful Leper

“Remember to say thank you!”

“What a nice gift! Now, what do you say?”

If you’re a parent (or spend much time around kids), you know how difficult it is to teach children to express simple gratitude when they receive something nice. I consider it a smashing success when my young daughter remembers to mumble out a quick, not-exactly-heartfelt “thank you” before rushing along to the next birthday present or shiny object.

As we grow older, we learn the rules of politeness and gratitude. We come to understand the importance of expressing thankfulness at the right times. But that doesn’t mean we always do it! One of Jesus’ most famous miracles illustrates exactly how difficult we find it to say the words “thank you.”

Luke 17:11-19

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

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

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him–and he was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Think About It

  • Have you ever been frustrated when somebody didn’t thank you for something you did for them? Why does a lack of gratitude sting us?
  • In the parable above, why do you think the nine lepers didn’t return to thank Jesus after such an incredible gift? Can you sympathize with them?
  • Was it really important for the lepers to thank Jesus for what he’d done? Is expressing gratitude merely an act of social politeness, or is there more significance to it?
  • What has God done for you that you haven’t thanked Him for? What do you need to thank God for today?