I mentioned yesterday that next Sunday, Lord willing, we will receive a love offering, above and beyond our regular giving, for the Nettles as they finish their journey with us at the end of this month.
As I think about our stewardship of this important act of thanks for all these dear ones have done in our midst over the last several years, this story in Luke 17:11-19 comes to mind:
11 On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance 13 and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16 and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
Baffling, isn’t it? Ten lepers get made whole from their dreaded disease and yet only one bothers to return thanks. And Jesus made a point of noting the shame of it by asking, Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?
Matthew Henry comments:
How poor we are in our returns: “Where are the nine? Why did not they return to give thanks?’ ’ This intimates that ingratitude is a very common sin. Of the many that receive mercy from God, there are but few, very few, that return to give thanks in a right manner (scarcely one in ten), that render according to the benefit done to them.
I realize, of course, that the context speaks to the realities of our salvation and the need to give thanks to God for His mercy in cleansing us from the leprosy of sin by the blood of Christ on the cross. But surely we may make application on a broader scale, including honoring and esteeming servants like Clay and Megan who have given of themselves to us so generously at OGC.
So as I exhorted on Sunday, I exhort again. Please prayerfully consider what God might have you give toward this love offering for these dear ones as they head off to St. Augustine. A special envelope will be included in the bulletin this Sunday in which you may enclose your gift. If you know that you will be away this Sunday and unable to attend OGC as usual and would still like to give, please send your gift duly designated to the church office and we will include it in the total.
Let us be like the one and give thanks like healed lepers should and may God save us from the all too common sin of ingratitude.