We’ve got this story in the book of Luke. As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. As he entered a village there, ten men with leprosy stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.
One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you. Luke 17:11-19
What happened to the other nine?
Maybe some were too busy to be thankful. They planned to express thanks. But first they needed to find family members, friends, Jesus did say go to the priests, right? I blame Jesus. Not really. How could they forget gratefulness when they got their lives back? Every day would be a reminder of what Jesus had done.
Maybe some were too cautious to be thankful. They had that foreboding joy. Kept their hopes down or controlled. Waited for the other shoe to drop. Waited to see what Jesus would want in return. Certainly there is a string attached to this. Certainly I’m not good enough to receive this good gift. Scarcity speaks loudly here. Scarcity is waking up in the morning and already feeling like you have let down those you love before you even get out of bed. Scarcity is feeling like you are never enough.
Maybe others were too self-centered to be thankful. The sick life was simpler. Now they had to get a job and have responsibilities.
Maybe others were too arrogant. They never were that sick. Given enough time, they would have recovered. Besides, to be grateful is to admit to being needy. Anything to stay out of vulnerability.
What happened to you? Why are you not living a life full of gratitude? Are you blaming Jesus too? Are you letting scarcity drive you?
I’d like to share a not-brave moment from my life. It was a time I let scarcity drive me and I have regrets.
I’ve had my heart smashed twice over a broken romantic relationship. One I handled the aftermath well. I was older and understood more. But the other one…I have regrets how I handled it. I was dumped. I was rejected. I was not enough for him. And I was sure God told me he was “the one” and this was my love for a lifetime. He was my “supposed to,” my Plan A. It all made sense, on paper at least. But he didn’t want me. Scarcity was screaming through me.
Here is where the regret comes in. I begged for this relationship to continue. I lost myself. I lost respect for myself. Certainly I lost any respect he had for me. I did it because I was sure God told me he was “the one.” I blamed Jesus. Jesus didn’t really love me after all.
Whether I admitted it or not, and I certainly didn’t know it yet, pain was my beginning right then. I hurt yet I bravely continued on with my life. I had two long long long good cries that turned the corner for me. I trusted the Promiser and threw it all out there to Him. Every yelling moment. I walked my life back into vulnerability because I trusted the Promiser. I grew in my character (as in Romans 5:3-5) which is probably why the 2nd time I didn’t beg when I was not wanted by him too.
I was braver that time. And I don’t have regrets. I was loved well and lost and am proud of that relationship.
What happened to the other nine? What happened to you when you got that bam of realization that the Promiser has been faithful to you the entire time, even when your reactionary behaviors were not so brave?
Or not so wise.
Or not so mature.
When you have regret.
You start practicing gratitude anyway. Gratitude for anything…everything. It’s never too late. When you can lean into the joys of your life, your world will seem brighter (more yellow) because you are recognizing that good things do happen to you. Still. Even now.
You are worthy of good things happening to you by the way. I hope the other nine grew to understand that.
(Photo Credit: Ben White, www.unsplash.com)