As a parent, I can tell you that some of the very best moments of parenting are when your kids express real gratitude. Maybe you got them what they had been asking for f-o-r-e-v-e-r. Maybe you rearranged your schedule and sacrificed a lot to take them on the trip they wanted to go on, or went way out of your way to get them into the class or camp they begged to attend. Genuine gratitude coming from those we love feels great.
Our family was out of town for nine days recently, and when we got home, our dog was so excited he was jumping out of his skin. His body shook uncontrollably as he celebrated our return. You’ve seen this kind of behavior in humans, too; it’s so raw and real that it’s borderline embarrassing. In Luke 17, Jesus receives genuine gratitude—the kind that is uncontrollable. A grown man threw himself at Jesus’ feet.
What drove this crazy expression of gratitude was the recognition that this terrible, life-altering, dire, painful-on-every-level, devastating sickness was no more. It was finished. The man was healed, and he couldn’t help but praise God and worship at Jesus’ feet.
As I reflect on this scene, I must admit my lack of gratitude for all God has done for me. I can’t recall the last time I was on my knees uncontrollably praising God. I can tell you I love Jesus, but I can also tell you I express it in ways that are much more subdued and cerebral. I think that’s regrettable. I believe that if I was truly aware of all God has done for me, I would be on my knees expressing gratitude in ways that would embarrass me every day.
Take a few minutes to reflectively put yourself in the shoes of the leper. What would it be like to be avoided at all costs by everyone? To be in pain and have no hope for your future… until Jesus shows up and heals you with a few spoken words. Now let’s worship God from that state of mind.