Monday, July 02, 2007

Too often I find that I'll pick up a book to read from the book store, take it home and start reading, only to realize that I have read the book before. It may take 50 pages or it may take half of the book to confirm it, but it certainly happens more than I want to consider. Thank goodness for used book stores. The up side of this is that I can re-read a book every couple of years and enjoy it all over again or learn something new.

Reading Scripture is certainly like this. My most recent experience of "when did they add this to the Bible" occurred as I read in Luke 17 about the 10 lepers. Maybe it is because there is so much meat in this chapter but somehow this particular story hadn't taken root into my permanant memory. The story is tucked between "it is better to tie a millstone around his neck" for those who lead little ones to sin (vs. 2), the faith of a mustard seed (vs. 6) and the coming of the Kingdom of God (vss.20-37) I'll use the "too much meat" excuse here.

In case you, like me, have forgotten the story - 10 men who suffered from leprosy met Jesus as he entered their village, recognizing him (as evidenced by their greeting of "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!"). Jesus' command to them was to go show themselves to the priests, andas they went on their way they were healed.

Now, assume that you and nine of your friends were afflicted with HIV/Aids or some other affliction that not only caused great pain and discomfort on your way to death, but made you outcasts in the eyes of the society around you. You have suffered miserably and have basically no hope of cheating death when a man comes and heals you with a simple command. How would you react to this miraculous event? There would have been an incredible celebration and unbridled joy had BJ been healed gradually through the heroic medical efforts put forth to save him, let alone had the Lord chosen to step in and raise him out of his bed and make him whole.

One man returned to thank Jesus - one. The other nine went on their way to something they apparently deemed more important but didn't seek out the man who had healed them, I just cannot imagine doing this - it puzzles and grieves me. It makes me wonder how many times the Lord has blessed me that I have taken for granted, or been too focused on "doing" that I have completely failed to acknowlede the blessing received.

Oh, you should also note that the one man returned to thank Jesus was--a Samaritan. As you will recall from a slightly more celebrated story the Samaritans didn't associate with the Jews. Yet it was this one man, a double-outcast if you will, who came and humbled himself before Christ. Lest you wonder, Christ noticed that the other 9 didn't come back.

All of us are outcasts in one way or another, we all experience hardships and we are all in need of some type of healing. We have a Savior who is already reaching out to us with an eternal healing we can't possibly, truly appreciate in this life. Yet the further outcast we are, the farther we have fallen from the standards He gave us, the greater our realization should be of His grace and mercy. None of us has a good reason to ignore His blessing and move forward even a day in this life without thanking the One who has given it to us.

May you experience His blessings today - and remember to thank Him for them!



At 9:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brad-Thank you for writing. Today I will say thank you to God for my life and all that I have. Let me be the one that is appreciative. Amen

At 3:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen and Amen!

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