One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He
threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him--and he was a Samaritan (Lk.17:15-16).
The question was raised in a Sunday school
class, "Why are we often not thankful?" Luke 17:11-19 tells the story of ten men
who had leprosy and cried out to Christ as He passed by. Jesus told them to "Go, show
yourselves to the priests." As they went on their way they were all healed, but only
one returned to thank Jesus. The question is raised as to why the other nine did not
return--why only one out of the ten returned--and why only the Samaritan.
Samaritans were a people who were despised by the Jews. The Jews would have
nothing to do with them, even to the point of not speaking to them. But of the ten that
had been together, there was one among them that was Samaritan, the rest being Jewish. So
then, in a group of nine of God's chosen people and one Samaritan, why did not those who
claim to be God's children realize who had healed them and praise God all the more?
The answer may be as close as your own family.
I have children, and I have watched them as I give them things from time to
time. Sometimes it's like pulling teeth to get them to remember to say thank you. It is
almost as though they feel that because they are my children that I somehow owe them what
I give. It's not always, but it is often that they take what is given as though they
deserve it--slow to say thank you, and soon to forget.
We cannot know for certain why the nine did not return. Perhaps they somehow
felt that they deserved what they received. They were Jewish and part of God's chosen
people, and maybe they were like children sometimes are--slow to say thank you, then soon
The Samaritan however, most likely did not feel deserving. He did not
consider himself God's chosen yet he received the same thing that God's chosen received.
What he received he did not feel he deserved, or that it was owed him or even like it was
something he should expect--he received the gift of a new life. For having being healed of
the leprosy, he was able to move back into a normal, and perhaps long and healthy, life.
We too have been given the gift of a new life--a new life in Christ. We have
also been blessed in that we have been made part of God's family, and we can now call
ourselves His children. How much then, does our Heavenly Father give to us that we take
for granted? How much of what He does for us goes unnoticed? Is it because we grow
accustomed to His gifts and to His love that we begin to not notice the daily blessings he
sends our way?
The nine may not have had a conscious thought that they deserved what
happened to them--yet, they also did not have a conscious thought to say thanks. We too
may not have a conscious thought as to say, "I deserve this." Yet, how often
does our lack of a simple "Thank you Father," send the message that we somehow
expect Him to do all He does for us in a manner as though He owes it to us?