I want to share one of my favorite Bible stories because it so deeply touches my heart:
Jesus was traveling between Samaria and Galilee. These countries were bitter enemies.
During His journey, He came across ten lepers. Some of these suffering, ill people were from Samaria and others were from Galilee. Having mercy upon these wretched, shadows of men, He healed them. Once they were all well and able to return home, only one of them said, “Thank you,” to Jesus.
There are three points about this story that I find intriguing.
The first is that common misfortune had broken down racial and national barriers between these suffering people. It is as if the leprosy had caused them to forget what country they were from! They knew only that they were in need – in need of God, family, and each other.
There are so many in our communities, families, and even in our workplaces, who are in need.
Even in the best of times, like the lepers, we are drawn together by a common need for God, family, and each other.
The second point that stands out for me is that the story says: the lepers stood “afar off.”
Scholars have stated the lepers of the ancient world were required to stand at least 50 yards way from uninfected people. There is no better evidence of the utter isolation in which lepers lived.
Who do you know that is standing “afar off?” In a challenged socioeconomic climate, many are embarrassed by their lack employment and the ability to provide for the basic needs of a family. They are “frozen” because they don’t know what to do. In our churches and communities, are we going to draw them close to us? Are we extending a hand, like Jesus did, to those who would otherwise be out of reach?
The third point of intrigue to contemplate is that the lepers had come to Jesus with a desperate longing. He cured them and nine never returned to thank Him. Oh, the rarity of gratitude!
So often, we are equally ungrateful to our fellow men. There are few of us who have not at some time owed a great debt of gratitude to another person but, few of us satisfy that debt with the thankfulness we are obligated to show.
In this spirit, I want to say thank you – to YOU! Thank you for your support and commitment to this growing community. Thank you for understanding that your leadership and mentorship of others is a high calling.
Thank you for returning to this on-line forum, again and again, and for sharing it with others.
Thank you, not just for being here, but for contributing to the conversation that cultivates growth within our fold.
Today, may you break down barriers at home, at work, and in your local community – embrace our common need for God, family, and each other. May you find another who is standing “afar off” and bring that person close. And, may you never forget to express gratitude to those who, in return, embrace you during your time of need.