We often look at thanksgiving backwards. We think of thanksgiving as thanking God for something that has happened to us already. The real purpose of giving thanks, though, is opening the door to even greater blessing. Thanksgiving becomes a window through which God's love shines.
The ten lepers were blessed for their faith.
They were ten wretched, forsaken, disheartened men. They were hopeless. They had leprosy, a disease for which there was no cure. In fact, leprosy was a death sentence carried out a little bit at a timean arm now, a leg or ear later. Because the disease was thought to be highly contagious, lepers were driven out of town where they couldn't associate with anybody. These men were hopeless and helpless and alone, but they formed a fellowship among themselves.
One day they heard about Jesus, and their hopes began to rise. They reached the point of believing, so they began to dream. In spite of a hopeless disease, they began to feel there was a chance to live. Through fellowship, these ten lepers had the courage to keep going. Then they met Jesus and said to him, "Master, have mercy upon us." Everybody would have told them they were going to die, that it was useless to ask for help. If they had believed that, they would have died. But they came to our Lord, taking Jesus at his word that "All things are possible to him who believes."
Jesus saw a way to test their faith. He said to them, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." They could have looked at each other and said, "Well, nothing's happened to us. We're just the same as we were." Instead, they did what he said; they obeyed him. As they went, the blessing camethey were cleansed. What a tremendous experience!
When God tests our faith, he ...
Charles L. Allen has served as the pastor of Grace Methodist Church in Atlanta, and First United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas. He is author of more than thirty books.
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