The Powerful Lesson I Finally Learned from the Tenth Leper

At church a few weeks back, one of the speakers gave a talk on the subject of gratitude. She included the story of Jesus and the 10 lepers as found in Luke 17:

11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.

12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:

13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.

14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.

15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,

16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.

17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?

18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.

19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Throughout my life, I’ve probably heard this story dozens of times. The lesson I took each time was either, “It’s really important to show gratitude” or “You don’t want to be like the other nine lepers.”

For whatever reason, this time around I was solely focused on the tenth leper and what his life was like thereafter. I couldn’t help but think that his expression of gratitude wasn’t just a nice thing to do for Jesus, it was something that transformed the leper. He had already been cleansed. Expressing gratitude made him whole.

Thanksgiving is a beautiful time to reflect on what we’re grateful for. But the blessings of gratitude don’t need to be confined to the end of November. We can enjoy them year-round.

I challenge all of us to make a regular commitment to expressing thanks. As we do so we’ll have a greater appreciation for all we’ve been given. Our life will be more joyful and bounteous. Like the 10th leper, we will be whole.

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