Remembering the Leper

“One of them [a leper], 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).

Has heavenly Dad ever asked you to get up close and personal to a leper? Evidently, He’s asking  that of me.

Happy Monday! How are your dear friend? How was your Thanksgiving? Did you meet with family? Did you eat lots of turkey and make life long memories? Could you sum up your time off in a single word or phrase? if yes, what would it be? Maybe you can help me paraphrase mine:

On the way to our ‘once a year extended family gathering,’ Taylor said,”Mom, this doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving or any holiday. It just feels like any other day. Is that because Dad’s not here or is this just the way it is as an adult?”

Since she started college while she was in high school, life felt like it was on “hold” until she finished. Archie going home as she was nearing the finish line of that race turned last year into “grieving holidays,” so this was her first “adulting” semi-normal Thanksgiving. What would you have said?

Thanksgiving is an amazing holiday to me. The government actually recognizes one day to focus on being thankful, and they don’t even tell us what to be thankful for. How cool is that? Aaaand that’s what I told Taylor. Everyday is essentially the same: we are given 24 hours, 1440 minutes, or 86,400 seconds of a blank slate. We all have the opportunity to fill, schedule, or waste that amount of time in any given day and then we get to do it all again the next day. It just so happens that this day of moments the suggestion has been made to be Thankful.

I was curious what the difference was/is between being thankful and grateful, so I looked it up. Grateful is supposedly a feeling that comes after someone/something happens to us in our favour. Thankful is associated with the feelings of relief that something negative did not happen. So, I’m suppose to focus on how many catastophies have been possibly avoided each year between two given dates? Is it just me or does that sound like it requires a lot of brain power?

Oh, well, skip it. “Let’s just say it’s a state of mind. We’ll concentrate on all the blessings we have in our lives and enjoy our day together.” We did and at the end of the day I asked Taylor,”Did it feel like Thankgiving?” She smiled,”Yes, mom.”

I was tucking those memories away when Sunday arrived. I think I’ve said it before that when heavenly Dad wants to get a point across He repeats the same thing over and over, like a scratched record. That’s what He did on Sunday.

We had a guest speaker, so you never know what they are going to have up their improntu sleeves. This gentleman was comparing leprosy to sin, sorta like how it eats away at us, we become numb to it, and the end result is disfiguring to our lives. The point that was seeping into my heart and mind was the point that Jesus healed 10 lepers, but only one came back to thank him. The others were so focused on getting to the priests to be declared “clean” that Jesus basically,“saw their butts and the bottoms of their feet as they sprinted away with out even so much as a,’You da man!’”

The Samaritan, who was the lowest of the low, socially, was the only one that stopped in his tracks and recognized who and where his healing had come from. The speaker went on to ask,”How many of us keep our 911 list of prayer requests because we just want to have jobs, health, and family, and as long as we have that, we really don’t need Jesus?” He was saying some people’s relationship is centered on what the world would consider “blessings.” Ouch! The Samaritan, recognized that there was more to this life. Off to Children’s Church, HOOO-OOH!

The story was about Solomon, his 700 wives, 300 girlfriends (keeping it rated ‘G’) and how he went off the rails as a people/wife pleaser. He allowed idols, instead of standing strong in his faith and relationship with heavenly Dad. God even came to him twice and told him to knock it off, but did he? That would be a “no.” I guess you can be wise and stupid at the same time. Because of this, heavenly Dad took the kingdom, 10 out of the 12 pieces, away from Solomon’s son. The part that choked me up was the reason heavenly Dad allowed the son to keep even the two little pieces: because of the relationship He had to Solomon’s dad, David.

Why did that hit me? David may have been the man after God’s own heart, but he also screwed up. Does the name Bathsheba ring any bells? Taking a man’s wife, having him killed, and that’s just part of the story. None of that portrays an award winning life . David, however was amazing. As the author of Psalms, it was seriously cool the way he seemed to come to the end of himself and then would praise heavenly Dad with everything that was in him. Over and over, down and up, down and up. It was amazing how he was so thankful, even in the hard times. Off to Sunday School (just because I help teach doesn’t mean I have to miss out on adult small church–I LOVE SUNDAYS!!!)

We were talking about what the guest speaker was saying. One of the first question’s out of Bill Krogel’s mouth was,”Take away all of the ‘blessings’ and how do you praise and worship? What do you have left?”

One of the ladies at the back of the room, a cancer survivor said,”Find someone who has less than you and be a blessing to them.” Wow…the bottom line: there is always someone who has less or is worse off than me. I have been challenged with a purpose in life: be a blessing. I can’t start being a blessing until I start recognizing/thanking heavenly Dad for everything He has alreading done and is continuing to do not only in me, but in those around me. The best thing? He doesn’t expect me to be perfect (David). He will love me even when I screw up and will honor those around me because of OUR relationship. What does He want from me? That I remeber to thank and praise Him with everything that is in me, as He owes me nothing. I need to remember the leper. I am humbled…and filled with purpose. How about you?

Until next week: Blessings!

Author: Tracy Cook

Widowed one week before our 27th wedding anniversary, Heavenly Dad continues to carry me, now blessing me with a second chance for love.

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