On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" When he saw them, he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, "Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" Then he said to him, "Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well."
~ Luke 17:11 - 19
We live in a world where we find ways to separate people who are like "us" and those who are "them." Even Luke is clear to note that it was a Samaritan (them) who returns to give God praise, and not those from Galilee (us), when they are healed from leprosy.
Just fill out a random survey and you will soon discover that it wants to know your gender, age group, income range, race, and depending on the survey, wants to know if you shop at one grocery store or another. It's about gathering data, because we know that somewhere there is a person who's entire life is filled with collecting such things.
When was the last time that you shopped online, only to later discover that the items that you looked at are now showing up on your news feed somewhere in an ad.
It's not by some miracle that it happens. Its research reflecting YOU!
Okay, so before I step over into some "big brother" conspiracy or creep some of us out, let me remind you there is already someone who knows us better than some survey. That person is God.
Years ago a dear friend shared with me that you should give God three times the amount of praise compared to the time you spent asking for God about a situation when the prayer has been answered. He went on to talk about having an attitude of gratitude.
So often when we seek out God's wisdom, healing, or blessing, when it comes, we often forget the process of asking for the blessing, and that time we spent talking to God about the blessing. When it comes, then we are happily on our way.
I have to admit, my life would be very different if God responded to the blessing the way that Google does when it tracks your internet use. Could you imagine being in line at the grocery store, and the little television that is above the checkout clerk suddenly turns to a commercial from God, directed at YOU, and saying, "Aren't YOU glad that GOD did this for YOU?"
Everyone in the checkout line would suddenly be focused on you, and probably would be chiming in, "Yeah, aren't you glad?" All along, they then start to consider what it is that God has done and suddenly fall to the ground giving thanks before it is their turn to walk up to the checkout person!
God doesn't react that way. God just simply loves us and we continue on our way until that next time when we suddenly find ourselves talking to God, often asking for something else.
Taking time for the attitude of gratitude is something we can all do, especially while remaining in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2017
Dear God, thank you! Amen.
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.