Sent:  Tuesday, December 11, 2001

Subject: “1 out of 10”

Dear Ethan & Emily:

Yesterday I gave gifts to those who work for me, and I also gave gifts to others in related offices that support our sales efforts.  Of all the gifts I gave, I got email “Thank You’s” back from only several.  They were short but sincere, and although I did not expect a reply, I have to tell you I did enjoy reading each and every one of them.

Thinking of this, I am reminded of the story in Luke 17 where Jesus came upon a group of ten lepers.  You might remember that I used this story in an earlier study to demonstrate the faith of this group in responding to Jesus’ direction that they show themselves to the priests even before they were healed.  In those days, you were not to present yourself to the priest until you were healed of the leprosy, but these demonstrated genuine faith by responding to Jesus even before they saw evidence that any healing had taken place.  As verse 14 says:  “And as they went (the emphasis here is that they obeyed and took action), their leprosy disappeared.”

They are to be commended for their faith, but the point of this morning’s study is not their faith but what they did after they got affirmation of their restored health.  We don’t know exactly when their skin cleared.  Maybe they saw the change before they went in to see the priests…maybe it didn’t happen until the moment they stepped forward in the priests’ presence…we don’t know.  But wouldn’t you have liked to have been there (as a fly on the wall!) to see their response when they realized what had happened?  And wouldn’t it be interesting to know what they did as the first thing after leaving the priests’ presence?  Maybe it was to return to a wife or girlfriend…

For nine of them, we will never know.  But for one, we know from the following verses (vv 15 – 19) that this one had only one thing on his mind.  He came back, sought Jesus out, and then SHOUTING…dropped at Jesus’ feet, praising Him for what He had done in his life.

1 out of 10!

As you know…for several years now I have had a great time being part of the Children’s Ministry Drama Team at church.  And for some reason, out of all the children’s drama stories I have written and acted out, this one has always stood out for me and is one that comes up in my mind often.  You know I have done some pretty dramatic stuff…Noah and his ark with recorded animal and weather sounds, Samson actually breaking (Styrofoam) pillars w/roofs falling in, the snake slithering in for the Adam & Eve sequence, etc….but none of them have “struck” me like this very simple story of the 10 lepers.  I always use some of the children in the group to participate in the dramas, and this group was awesome.   We had plenty of excitement with the 10 children showing their excitement over their healing by jumping up and down like Jack in the boxes and then running from the room…with only one coming back to Jesus.  This had such an impact on me.  I trust also that it did on those watching….such that we are reminded how insensitive we can be sometimes when God blesses us, and we think of everything else to do…and everyone else to go see…but the One who blessed us in the first place!

The kind of offering and worship that really honors God is giving thanks:  He Himself has said: “…giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me.” (Ps. 50: 23)  Later in another Psalm, the writer gives advice on what those should do who have been healed by God:  “Let them praise the Lord for His great love and for all His wonderful deeds to them.  Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and sing joyfully about His glorious acts.” (Ps. 107: 20 – 22).  And again…”I will praise God’s name with singing, and I will honor Him with thanksgiving.  For this will please the Lord more than sacrificing an ox (good deeds/acts on our part)….” (Ps. 69: 30 – 31).

Even as I was blessed by the several emails I received yesterday, I cannot imagine the joy that God gets from hearing us telling Him “Thank You.”

And just as I ask myself…I will ask you:  If you had been in that group of 10, would you have been the one that immediately…not later…but right then and there…took the time and make the deliberate effort to go back to first find Jesus…and then thank Him personally?

Let’s all make the commitment that in spiritual matters and in areas of thanksgiving, we will…

Stand out from the crowd…and be the “1 out of 10.”

Have a great day.

With all my love,