WHERE ARE THE NINE?
“And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?” Luke 17:15-17
Thanksgiving Day is one of the favorite holidays in our country. It encourages each of us to do something we know we need to do more of – offer thanks to God. Thanksgiving should be something we do daily, and even continually, not annually. The act of giving thanks reminds us to take inventory and see how good God has been to us. It is good for us to count our blessings and remember the many benefits God has provided. Where would we be without the good hand of God working in our lives?
The Scripture records the story of some lepers who failed to give God thanks, and it is a personal warning to all of us about the danger of ingratitude. Leprosy is a truly dreadful disease, and one can only imagine the joy that would come from being completely cured. Such was the case in this Scripture. All ten of these men cried out to Jesus for mercy, and He answered their plea. However, only one of them returned to give thanks and glory to God.
How could this be, that nine of the lepers failed to return and thank the Great Physician who healed their diseased bodies? There are probably many explanations, but let’s consider just one. It is very common for men to focus more on the blessings received, than on the One who sends the blessings. If we try, we can imagine how it must have felt to be healed of leprosy. The lepers had been isolated because of the disease, separated from families and friends. They lived a life of loneliness and rejection, and endured continual pain. When they found themselves cured, perhaps all they could think about was seeing their families, visiting friends, and making up for time that was lost.
There is nothing wrong with appreciating what God has done, but how wrong it is to think more of the gift than of the Giver. God has been so good to us. He has blessed us immeasurably. Of all the benefits we have received, none can compare to the gift of salvation, forgiveness of sins, and eternal life. As leprosy is a truly dreadful disease, so is the dreadful disease of ingratitude. May God help us to always be mindful of the One who has healed our souls.