Thanksgiving Story

“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.”  

Luke 17:15-16

Jesus was, as usual, crossing the cultural and religious “lines” of his earthly world.  He had chosen to take a route back to Jerusalem that went through Samaritan territory…..”shlepping” where Jews preferred NOT to “shlep.”  To make matters worse, Jesus passed through a “special area”  that was reserved for lepers – outcasts of the towns.  These were the “untouchables,” and had to declare themselves to anyone passing by, so travelers would not risk being contaminated by their leprosy.  Humiliating! Jesus did not seem to see all those “lines” that this world draws that are meant to separate people from each other.

The lepers saw Jesus and recognized Him as Someone who could help them.  They called out to Him…by name…asking for His help.  Jesus directed them to go to the nearby priest in the village, to have him check their skin.  They all headed to the village, their skin healing as they walked.  Imagine their amazement and thrill as they watched their skin becoming new.  No more living in pain….no more living as outcasts….no more separation from their families…their lives!   I can imagine that their walking soon became running.  It was a miracle!!!

BUT….one of them stopped.  He turned around, walking….running…back to the place where he had been suffering on so many levels for such a long time!

Jesus was there.

The man with the new skin threw himself at Jesus’ feet. He had tofirst thank this One who had heard their cries, stopped, and spoken Words that began the healing process that would change their lives. His life.

The other 9 had continued back to their village….homes….families…lives.  But this one, a Samaritan at that, went back, falling at the feet of Jesus.  He could not go home without thanking the One Who had stopped, heard, and given him a new life.

May our words and our lives be a thanks-giving to Him as well.


“Enter his gates with thanksgiving

 and His courts with praise;

 give thanks to Him

 and praise His name.”

  Psalm 100:4

When I think of times I have been the most thankful, it is often when I have been doing without something, and then the situation has changed to “doing with”.  Being withoutseems to make beingwithmore meaningful.

[For me, one example that springs to mind is that not a day goes by that I do not sincerely thank God for flush toilets. Really!  Having grown up with that wonderful invention in every place I’d ever lived, I never realized its value and blessing until I began spending time in desert places that have none.  (Without going into detail, they’re called “squatty-potty’s” …..I’m sure you can get the idea.  The acrobatics involved only add to the adventure, and my gratitude!)  The point is that gratitude springs up most when we experience something good that we’ve not experienced before.]

The first time I visited the ruins of the Temple in Israel where Jesus had literally walked, I was struck by the different courtyards designated for different groups of people.  The “court” nearest to where God’s Presence resided allowed for spiritual leaders, then further back more common folk (men), then women and Gentiles (non-Jews).  If I had lived in that time, I would have been waaayyy in the back.  The literal experience of being so far away from where the ancient spiritual Presence and worship took place struck me deeply.

Because of what Jesus did in giving His Life for us, all those old categories crumbled away, and He made it possible to “come near” to Him.  We can walk through that gate…and keep moving through all those designated “courts”…right into His Presence.   Men, women, children, no matter your ethnicity, “status” in life, or any of the other categories with which people are labeled.

He simply opens up His Arms and says, “Come!”