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Where Are The Other Nine? (Luke 17:11-16)

posted Oct 27, 2013, 11:22 AM by Bowmansville UMC   [ updated Oct 27, 2013, 11:58 AM ]

One day God gave his angels two baskets and sent them out to collect prayer notes in one basket and thank-you notes in the other.  When they returned, God found a basket full of prayer notes and the other with just few thank-you notes.  God looked through all the prayer cards with sympathy and concerns.  And then God look through thank-you notes.

God picked one thank-you note and it says, “Thank you God. I am healed from cancer.  Glory to you, Lord!  Now I know how abundantly you gave me in my life.  Everything is now different.  I see things differently.  I take a breath differently.  I eat food differently.  I see people differently.   Everything is different, Lord.  They are all grace from you.  Now I know.  Now I know. Thank you, Lord.  Alleluia, Amen.”  God smiled and said, “He got it now.  His faith made him well.”

God picked up another one.  Yet another note says, “My Lord, my God, I give you thanks and I praise you name.  I am still sick and suffering.  I don’t have much money left.  But I got to thank you Lord because I can feel you closer than ever before.  I see what I haven’t seen before.  I hear what I haven’t heard before.  Everything is different now, Lord.  Thank you for me letting me know what I have not known before.  Thank you for letting me know you better.  Everything is grace from you.  Thanks be to God!  Amen.” 

Full of sympathy God said, “He got it too.  His faith made him well.”  Wellness is more than the physical health or material richness.  Wellness is more than just getting what we want.

        After all the reading He said to angels “Where are the rest of thank-you notes?  Are they all?  Where are others?”  Jesus healed 10 men who suffered leprosy, but only one came back and thanked Jesus throwing himself at Jesus’ feet.  Jesus said, “Where are the other nine?” (Luke 17:17)

Did he ask about the whereabouts of the nine?  No, I don’t think so.  Is his question an expression of his anger because he does not receive thanks that he thinks he deserved to have from the nine?  Maybe it is or maybe not.  But it seems to me that his question is to let us know that we are short of thanks in our lives.

We may have to ask ourselves whether we belong to the nine or not.  We may have asked God a lot but forget to give thanks to God when things are settled down.  If we forget about God when things turn out to be as we wish and pray, we don’t have to even talk about when things do not turn out to be as we wish and pray.

If you have strong faith do things turn out to be as you wish?  If things do not turn out as you wish is that because your faith is inferior?  Is it a matter of cause and effect?  No, certainly not. It is rather that if you have faith things turn out to be as God wishes.  That is not exact because whether you have faith or not things turns out as God wishes.  Then what is the difference?   The difference is that only faithful person can see and appreciate what God has done no matter what situation he or she is in.

So, we can say that the faithful is the thankful in any situation.  How can we be thankful when things do not turn out to be as we wish or pray?  That is exactly what we need to find out.  Romans 10:28 may give the answer: “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who has been called according to his purpose.”  We may not know how exactly, but we can say we trust God in everything because he is the good God.  I am able to thank Him because I trust him 100%.  He will make things good according to His will.

Are you healthy?  Did you succeed?  Are you wealthy? Do you have good family or friends around you?  Then, do not forget that they are given to you by God.  And be grateful and give thanks to God.  Not just by lips but also by your whole life, reveal your gratitude to God.

        Are you still sick?  Are you still unemployed?  Are you still hooked on something bad?  Are you depressed?  Do you have a broken family?  Do you have no friends?  Are you poor?  Then do not forget to look for something precious given to you by God.  Find grace given to you, be grateful, and give thanks to God.  Not just by lips but also by your life with thanksgiving.

Even when you are situated in very difficult circumstances, look up to God not the situation itself.  It is said that prison is not very different from monastery except that one has complaining attitude and the other has grateful attitude.  If you lose thanksgiving in your life you come to live in prison. Your life would be filled with complaints all the time no matter how much you have.  What kind of attitude would you like to live with?

Thanksgiving ought to be our life-long attitude and our life itself.  There is no finish line or graduation on thanksgiving.  This is God’s will.  Paul says, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

I hope that you come to worship to give thanks to God.   It is right to give our thanks and praise to God.  Life with thanks is the very life with faith and that makes your life well.  Jesus says to you, “Rise and go: your faith has made you well.”  Amen.     

Pastor Youngjae Jee