Each week, my church engages in the practice of sharing joys and concerns. Sharing details of our lives before the community of faith allows church members to get to know one another, making us truly invested in those around us. That shared investment means that people not only participate in appealing to God on behalf of others but also that they eagerly wait to participate in recognizing God’s answer.
If we share burdens and hardships, then we also share joys. If we cry out to God and beg for mercy, for healing, or for help, then we certainly must return to God with thanksgiving for those very things. The discipline of asking for help requires the discipline of recognizing God’s response and appropriately responding ourselves. Jesus seems disappointed that nine of the ten lepers he healed failed to grasp this concept.
The sick in this story appear to know the rules of engagement: They keep their distance because they are considered “unclean” and address Jesus as “Master.” These lepers exhibit signs of faith but fall short when they fail to acknowledge God’s role in their restoration. They ask, receive, and go without so much as a thank-you.
Like the lepers in this story, we often exhibit the same kind of behavior. We ask for mercy, for healing, for a divine hand to improve our circumstances. God responds, and we often receive what we ask for. Yet when our circumstances improve, we tend to forget that it was and is God at work, listening to us, talking to us, and responding to us. We go on our way without returning thanks and without adding our testimony to God’s story.
In what ways has God worked in your life recently? What answered prayers have you unwittingly overlooked?
I am grateful, Lord, for all that you are and all that you do. Thank you for always hearing and responding. Stir within me a proper response to your handiwork, O God. Amen.
One might have expected Jeremiah to advise the exiles to maintain their independence and be ready to return to Judah. Instead, he tells them to settle in, to build and plant, to seek the welfare of Babylon, even to pray for its prosperity. The judging purposes of God call for extended exile and not impa- tient rebellion. In the story of the ten lepers in Luke, one returns to praise and thank Jesus for giving him health. Only then do we learn that he is a Samaritan. The ultimate outsider becomes the model of faith. Second Timothy bears witness to the awe- some character of God that always honors divine commitments, thereby appearing to humans full of surprises. For the psalmist, God merits the worship of all the earth.
• Read Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7. When have you found yourself in exile? How did you cope with the situation? What reminded you that God had not abandoned you?
• Read Psalm 66:1-12. When has the testing of God brought you out to “a spacious place”?
• Read 2 Timothy 2:8-15. How do you ready yourself to pres- ent yourself as one approved by God?
• Read Luke 17:11-19. The writer states that Jesus’ question, “Where are the other nine?,” invites us to receive God’s healing of illness and inner wounds. What in your life needs God’s healing touch?
Responda publicando una oración.