They were a despicable lot. Outcasts of society that had found comfort in being together, rather they had no choice but to stick together since no one wanted to be near them, they had to stick together. They could not see their families, they could not perform their jobs, they could not move amongst their towns and villages as any other citizen. They had to remain separate, they had to remain distant and standoffish, and they had to be exclusive in their little tight knit group allowing only those that were like them to be a part of them.
One day this agonizing situation changed. No longer were they ostracized. No longer were they in physical and emotional pain. No longer did they have to shout at the top of their lungs “unclean, unclean, unclean” when they walked about. The sun rose on that seemingly uneventful day, that seemingly mundane, ordinary, ostracized day. They were milling around when in the distance they spotted hope. They had heard what Jesus could do, but the question was would He do it for them? They could not go near, their disease prevented them from being part of the large crowd that was always following Jesus, so with a loud voice they cried out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” (Luke 17:13).
What happened next was a miracle. All Jesus told them to do was to show themselves to the priest. He did not pray over them, He did not lay His hands on them, He did not make any mud to put on their sores. Rather, they were to walk to see the priest and show him their skin. So they obeyed. They walked. At some point in their walking, one of these men looked down at his skin and it was clean. No longer was there pain, no longer were there deformities, no longer would they be ostracized. One man…ONE man out of ten men….he turned around. Praising God in a loud voice, he found Jesus and bowed before Him thanking Him for healing him. One man out of 10…10% of the men said “thank-you.”
Thanksgiving is tomorrow. We know we are to be thankful. We teach our children to say “thank-you.” We have come to expect people to say “thank-you” when a service is performed or when there is an act of charity. My question for us to ponder this thanksgiving is, “Do we mean it?” When we say “thank-you” do we really mean it or is it a phrase that leaves our lips but never touched our hearts? When I am out being served by waitress, the grocery clerk, the car wash attendant, I try to use the person’s name in my “thank-you.” It makes it more personal and feels more heartfelt to me. It makes me take notice of the person and not just the service they were obliged to perform. I also try to notice something about the service that was performed and comment on it. Again, it makes me notice the person and their heart behind the service not just the service.
With this thanksgiving, notice things about others and thank them. Write them a note about what you noticed or tell them in person. I bet it will make their day. Jesus knew only one man would say “thank-you.” Yet, it did not keep Him from healing the ten. Our motivation for service is not what we get, but what we can give. However, a “thank-you” encourages us to not “grow weary in well doing.” (Galatians 6:9). Be a thankful noticer this year.