The wonderful virtue of being thankful
The text for today’s lesson is Leviticus 13:1-7 and Luke 17: 11-19, please follow closely as we read Leviticus 13:1-7.
And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, saying, 2When a man shall have in the skin of his flesh a rising, a scab, or bright spot, and it be in the skin of his flesh like the plague of leprosy; then he shall be brought unto Aaron the priest, or unto one of his sons the priests:
In today’s society, leprosy, which is more commonly referred to as Hansen’s disease, this disease is not as feared and devastating as it was in times past. We battle with things such as cancer, heart disease, and HIV/AIDS, but in earlier times and before the wonderful advances of medical science, leprosy was one of the most feared diseases known to man. It was particularly dangerous for several reasons. Firstly, the disease was contagious; someone could become easily infected by just being in the presence of another who was affected. Secondly the disease was progressive, incurable and terminal. I say progressive because it had a tendency to start as a small white spot that would appear on the legs, arms or other parts of the body. The disease would attack the skin, the nervous system, the eyes and mucous membranes in the nose. The disease could leave its victims crippled and would certainly result in the death of anyone infected. Leprosy was a terrible disease. Any Israelite, affected with a suspicious skin condition had to present his or herself to the priest for inspection. If the priest diagnosed the condition as leprosy, that person had to be isolated permanently. This person had to leave the camp or city and become an outcast. Lepers were required by law to wear torn clothing and to cover the face. No family, no friends, no life, no health, this was truly a heinous disease. Some lepers carried bells and whenever some was near they would ring the bells and shout unclean, unclean! Upon hearing this people would run to safety and cast stones on those infected with the incurabe disease.
Now with such an understanding of leprosy in olden days, let us read Luke 17: 11-19. (Jesus cleanses the lepers)
11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus travelled along the border between Samaria and Galilee.
12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy, met him. They stood at a distance, and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice.
16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?
18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?”
19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
I am sure that all of us have at one time or the other has missed opportunities to express gratitude, but it is never too late to start cultivation good habits. A life that is void of thankfulness, is one that will experience much sadness , for thankfulness is the very bedrock of happiness. The healing of the ten lepers identifies two types of people, the ones, and the nines, the few and the many, those who have learnt to be content and those who are not. It is a great thing to be thankful and we become more so when we learn to count our blessings. This is done by reflecting on the good things in our lives, we can be thankful for friends and family and those who support up in the good things we are trying to accomplish. The Psalmist says we should enter into His gates with thanks giving and into His courts with praise Psalm 100:4
Let us be thankful unto God for His mercies and his grace shown in our lives and respond with sessions and moments of thanksgiving. The book of Hebrews tell us "By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His Name" (Hebrews 13:15)
Are you thankful to God, for his saving grace, for your life, for his blessings?
Take time to consider your life, look for the good things that are happening, give glory and honour and praises to God. You might find it helpful to start a journal in which you keep a list of the things you are thankful for, that way when you pray or meet the persons on your list you could remember to show or express gratitude. Don’t be like the nine lepers, don’t forget or become too busy to be thankful. We should be thankful every day, not just when we attend a church service or receive a birthday gift, if we look carefully we will notice that there is always something to be grateful for. That thing which we may take for granted another person is desperately praying for.
Here is a list of 5 things for which we could be thankful.
- Be thankful for God our Creator (Psalm 118.1)
- Be thankful for Jesus Christ- He is the mediator (1 Corinthians 1.4)
- Express gratitude for your church family – they support you in your walk with God (2 Thessalonians 1.3)
- Be thankful to God for His providential care
- Be thankful to God for His protection on our lives.
The Golden rule
The Golden Rule!
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. This text found Matthew 7:12 is widely referred to as the golden rule.
This profound statement is considered by men everywhere to be true and fundamental to the cohesive existence of humans.
Clothed in divine wisdom, Jesus impressed on the minds of his disciples that they should always treat all others, as they themselves would like to be treated. In this context, may we look deep into our own hearts, see those things that we find painful and resolve to not to do those things unto others.
The metaphorical shining of the light as communicated by our Saviour in what is known as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) is best implemented in the way we treat others. The better we treat others, the brighter our lights shine. The Hebrews were given this rule very early in time, as part of the Torah or sacred writings; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Leviticus 19:18
Yes, we live in a in a world with many rules, from the time we are born until the day in which we die, there are rules we must abide by, or face grave consequences. But this rule, the one found in Matthew 7:12 epitomises them all. To treat others as we would like to be treated is a principle by which we could make the world a better place, this is best done by practicing empathy, being kind and helpful to each other, showing compassion, overcoming prejudice and stopping unjust criticism.
The good or bad deeds we perpetuate today spin on the wheels of time and eventually find their way back to its author. Jehovah God himself presides over this process of reciprocity. Consider Galatians 6:7&8, “Be not deceived, God is not mocked, whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.”
If then the good deeds we do return in the form of blessings within our own lives, may we persist in enriching our lives by doing good to each other. “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:16