Lately the prayer of my heart has been that God would work into my life a humble and yielded heart with a bold faith. It seems such a big lesson to me…having a humble and yielded spirit before God but a boldness in living out my faith in obedience. A heart tender and meek with God but a bold and brave willingness to follow after Him. Humility before God. Boldness before men.
This morning as I was seeing my husband off to work I glanced down onto the kitchen counter and noticed Leah’s coloring page from church yesterday. She is three. The coloring page has a reference to Luke 17, has a picture of Jesus and another man, and says “Only one man remembered to say “thank you” to Jesus. That was BIG.” Sometimes we (especially me!) delve into such deep places of reflection but I like the simplicity of Leah’s coloring page…Big Gratitude!
Now for my delving…
If you read the 17th chapter of Luke you’ll see Jesus traveling and as He crossed the border between Samaria and Galilee ten lepers met him. Verses 13-16 (the message): They kept their distance but raised their voices, calling out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us! Taking a good look at them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” They went, and while still on their way, became clean. One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. He kneeled at Jesus’ feet, so grateful. He couldn’t thank him enough–and he was a Samaritan.
Samaritans were not God’s chosen people…Israel was. Yet, out of 10 men afflicted with a disease that kept them living on the outskirts of their community, a disease that pronounced them “unclean” in Jewish law and custom, only one man came back to worship Jesus after being healed…the “outsider.” Maybe the outsider was shocked because He didn’t expect the power and goodness of Jesus to be extended to him. Whatever the reasons, he made his way back to the feet of Jesus in worship…shouting his gratitude. It seems to me this Samaritan man was humbled in his gratitude, in amazement of how Jesus transformed and healed his body in a moment of obedience, for as he made his way toward the priest with the crowd he found himself healed and whole. But he couldn’t just keep going! This healed leper could not ignore the man who had touched his life…restored him.
I don’t want to live my life like one of the nine. I don’t want to call out to Jesus for what I need and then move on after He restores me. I want to be “stuck” in gratitude…unable to move past Him. I want to worship with a heart of humility and awe, without pause for consideration and measure of what it looks like to anyone else. I don’t want to stay caught in the middle, with my head on swivel between the nine going their merry way and the man, Jesus, still standing with eyes ablaze in power and mercy. See, I have this thought that if you recognize that you have been an outsider because of sin, and you realize that Jesus, through His torturous death on the cross, restored you to relationship with God then you may just get stuck in gratitude! If you recognize that you are broken in some sense…maybe physically like the leper, perhaps caught in the tangle of addiction, maybe you are emotionally a mess, maybe you don’t have a job or you are suffering loss. Maybe you are carrying the weight of shame and guilt and you long for a deep, cleansing breath of freedom. Or, and perhaps the worst affliction, you don’t see any brokeness in your life. Maybe you easily see everyone else’s issues but think you are doing just fine. Do you generally feel quite satisfied with yourself or does your heart cry out for God to change you? Whatever our broken state, Jesus crosses all borders to heal us. And if we are healed…if our lives are restored….if our marriages begin to thrive, if our children begin to relax and flourish in our stability, if our bodies are healed of disease and disorder, if our thoughts are renewed and we begin to see ourselves as the unique and wonderfully made creatures we are, if the chains of addiction and destruction are snapped in His power and presence, if our conversations are transformed from gossip-laden to God-praising, if our attitudes shift from critical to compassionate, if our sad and lonely hearts are mended with the oil of joy, if our wallets are opened wide to bless others, if our straight jacket of unforgiveness is removed through the merciful example of Jesus in our own redemption, if our comfortable American-Dream lives begin to feel less satisfying with the urgency of greater purpose…beyond any material measure we can obtain…then Jesus has crossed our internal borders to the “outsider” places in our lives and He offers healing for every affliction as we yield…with humble hearts of gratitude and bold obedience. Stuck at the feet of Jesus.