Learning from a Leper

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Our hearts have this crazy tendency to be tricked into thinking that the gifts of God are something we should be enamored with. (Aaron Ivey)

In Luke 17:11-19, we find Jesus walking along the border between Samaria and Galilee – not an easy path, but one fraught with unknowns and racial tension. On the outskirts of a village, from far off, ten men afflicted with leprosy yell His name.

These lepers had been deemed unclean and unfit for participation in society. They're outcasts, untouchables, the walking dead – doomed to a life of misery and poverty. 

In their wretched desperation, they shout, “JESUS, Master, have pity on us!”

When Jesus sees them, He graciously tells them to go and show themselves to the local priests, who had traditionally been tasked with examining people and providing them with a clean bill of health if truly healed.

They go, and we find out that Jesus has healed all ten. All TEN are cleansed! 

Only one, though – a Samaritan, a foreigner – returns to Jesus, falling to His feet in gratitude, praising God for His goodness. 

After questioning the response of the other nine, Jesus says to the one who has returned, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Here’s the question that has pierced my heart this week: am I like the leper, cleansed by Jesus, living with unabashed thankfulness to Him, constantly returning to Him, recognizing my need for Him? 


Am I like the other nine, who begged Jesus for healing when I was desperate, and then went on my merry way, never stopping to thank Him or know Him? 

These nine were enamored with the gift of healing, rather than the Giver Himself.

This Thanksgiving, let’s not be so enamored by the gifts of God that we forget to be enamored by God Himself. Physical health, wealth, comfort, and even people, are gifts we so easily worship, and yet all of these things come and go. Rather, as we consider our lives – the good, the bad, and the ugly – may we remember this: Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17) 

May we be like the cleansed Samaritan leper as we gather to give thanks this week, aware of our need and amazed by God's mercy.

With love and joy,