Who invented the telegraph? God did. Now, you didn't give credit to the wrong person, did you? God used Samuel F. B. Morse. One day Samuel seemed to be at a dead end in his electronic experiments. Whatever he tried, didn't work. Do you know what he did? He says in his own words: "I prayed for more light". God gave this humble inventor the answer to his electrical problems. God gave that answer to that man. It is as if God wanted the world to have the telegraph at that specific time: 1844. Morse later said: "That's why I never felt I deserved the honors that came to me because of the invention associated with my name. I had made a valuable application of the use of electrical power, but it was all through God's help. It wasn't because I was superior to other scientists." And then, Samuel Morse makes this statement: "When the Lord wanted to bestow this gift on mankind. He had to use someone. I'm just grateful He chose to reveal it to me." God wanted the world to have the gift in 1844. Because in 19844, something was happening. The end of the world was about to start. No wonder the inventor's first message over the telegraph was: "What hath God wrought!" God invented the telegraph. Samuel Morse thanked God. He gave all the credit to God. He thanked God for using his mind to bring a technical blessing to the world. We ought to have that type of a spirit of thanks giving. Giving the credit to God. Being thankful to God. Not taking the credit ourselves.
In contrast there is another story over here in the book of Luke. You can take your Bible and open it to the seventeenth chapter of Luke. An interesting story. This will be the basis of our sermon today. It begins in verse eleven. Luke17:11-12. And it says, Now on His way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As He was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met Him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" There they were. We call them the 'ten lepers.' Jesus was on the His to Jerusalem. He was walking along the northern border between Samaria and Galilee, so you get the idea of where they were. As the 13 men were about to enter a small village they saw ten other men, strange men come limping and shouting at them. They were probably taken aback and thought, 'What is happening to us?' They were so covered with scabs and scars that they looked like they had been tortured. They were hideous and had Leprosy, which was the AIDS of that day.
Twenty-three men stood there in two groups. The smaller group were starved and haggard. They shared a small hut, maybe, out in the open fields because they. They were not allowed to live in civilization. They were quarantined outcasts. Because they all had a contagious disease that was incurable, they had to live as hermits. Until that moment it had been 800 years since anyone had been healed of leprosy. When Naaman met Elisha, leprosy was a symbol of sin, and these ten were supposedly cursed of God. Their scales and scabby skin and their pain were supposedly rewards that heaven was punishing them because of their sin that they had presumably done against God.
Today we can only guess where AIDS came from. Scientists that are Bible scholars think God's people contracted Leprosy in heathen Egypt. God delivered them from Egypt and forgave them, but the sin of Egypt followed them and their offspring. They got out of Egypt, but Egypt never got out of them. Leprosy was a plague that they had. So it is no wonder that they stood afar off!
Now, they asked for healing. Luke 17:13, and they called in a loud voice, Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" They wanted to be healed. They loudly called for healing. Here were ten voices calling for healing, asking God for healing. You've got to ask. And notice what Jesus did in Luke 17:14. When He saw them, He said, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." That's all He said. He didn't say, "you are healed." because they weren't healed, at that instant. That would be my guess. "Go show yourself to the priests." Where was the priest? In Jerusalem. How far was that? Fifty miles depending on where the border between Samaria an Galilee was. Here they would have to walk fifty miles on their sore feet out in the hot sun, fifty miles on their ulcerated feet to the priests in Jerusalem. And the priests were the public health officers. Once there, then a Jew could be diagnosed as free of leprosy. This is what needed to be taking place. Since leprosy was an act of God, supposedly, no human being could cure it because it was sent of God. So, if anybody could cure it, then that would prove that he was affiliated with God or was God.
Luke 17:14 says, And as they went, they were cleansed! Like Naaman, they would not have been healed had they not followed the specific condition of the healing. They had to do something. They had to go, they had to take an action on their part. It seemed kind of strange to be going to the Priest who was the inspector to be inspected and to confirm the miracle when there was no miracle yet. But they went out in faith. That tells you something about all of them. Can you just see this band of men limping on their crutches, several miles out on the hot dusty barrens of the desert. Suddenly one of them notices something funny about his right foot. It feels different. It looks different than it has in years. The scabs slide off onto the sand. The grey splotches are gone. "Look at the skin on my arm. It looks like the skin of a baby!" He's been healed! They all jumped for joy. They were healed. Crutches were tossed away. They ran pain free to Jerusalem. Praise be to God.
Luke 17:15,16 says, One of them, 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. He was not even a Jew. Samaritans were descendants of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. They were not taken to Babylon as captives. The Jews viewed them as heretics. To be a leper and a Samaritan was a double whammy. So, he stopped. He was not allowed inside the Jewish temple, anyway. He turned around and ran back to Jesus. He couldn't go to Jerusalem so he went back to Jesus instead. I guess he could have gone to back to Samaria. Despite his new coat of baby-like skin he threw himself down on the ground at Jesus' feet and gave Him thanks.
Luke 17:17,18. Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was there no one found to return and give thanks to God except this foreigner?" Jesus asked him a question: Vs 17- Where are the Nine? Where are your friends? You can tell that it bothered Jesus that ninety percent of the people that He had healed did not show up. They were not there. They didn't express appreciation. They could care less about being thankful. I think they were in a marathon race to Jerusalem. I think it matters to Jesus that we are thankful, whether we appreciate His blessings or whether we don't. He generously gave all of them a wonderful healing.
"The instant we are born, we already owe someone for nine months of room and board . . . and we never really pay that debt." We can never pay it, but our gratitude can be passed on to others. "What Leaders Expect from Followers," John Maxwell, April 1993.
Do you have someone you need to thank? Ask God to refresh your mind of someone who did you a favor and you failed to thank them appropriately. Be like the tenth leper who was so grateful!
There is a valuable key here to understand. How often we do not receive answers to our urgent needs, just because we are ungrateful. Is it possible that on that day, nine ungrateful people were healed just because they were friends with one who had a deep spirit of appreciation to Jesus. What is the opposite of appreciation? Criticism! Do you live with a negative critical person? Are you down on those who do the most for you? Maybe you need to ask God to replace your leprous heart with a new heart.
Two bands of men met that day. Just as Jesus was vastly different than the twelve disciples, so this stranger was superior to the nine. The stranger had a heart of thankfulness. Only the foreigner demonstrated true gratitude.
They all had faith, but only one had gratitude. One of the trademarks of Last Day Christians is a spirit of gratitude. The next time you see your husband or your wife, affirm them instead of nagging at them. Uplift them instead of picking on them. Appreciate something in your children and they will do anything for you.
I came to a home to give a Bible Study. They had a small black Dachshund Dog. She was so excited to see me that she made a little puddle. Her tail beat wildly as she gave me a licking with her tongue. She was so thankful that I came.
Start treating your family, your loved ones, like your dog treats you and you will find much joy. People love to be appreciated. The story of the ten lepers tells me that Jesus loves it when we thank Him and appreciate what He does for us.
Don't take God's blessings for granted. This summer we were in Alaska. I was on a tour boat with about 150 others. We came near to a magnificent glacier. It was gigantic and camera's were clicking wildly. In fact so many were standing on the side of the boat where the face of the glacier could be seen that the boat was tilting at a good angle. I happened to look at one of the employees of the tour boat. She was sitting quietly in the back corner reading a novel. The vivid blue color we saw had lost its power to attract her. The calving of the glacier did not impress her. Never take for granted the grandeur of God's blessings. His favors deserve our endless wonder and thankfulness.
O Lord, help us to be thankful that You have Not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. - Psalm 103:10 The NIV says it this way: He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. It's just consistent that way.
Why didn't the nine ex-lepers return. Perhaps--
Nine men were Jew - Church members. Could it be that the real reason they did not come back was because they expected Jesus to treat them right? They expected Jesus to heal them? They had the attitude that God owed them good health? Do you have the attitude that God owes you good health? That a deer should never crash into your car? That you should never get a cold? That you can eat all the pumpkin pie you want and be immune from a cold? They were His chosen people and deserved to be healed anyway? Maybe that's how they felt.
Only one man came back and personally thanked Jesus! When you get to heaven, I think you will meet that man. You know unless we become grateful we will never make it to heaven. Unless we develop a positive grateful attitude we will be lost. We are told that unless we cultivate a cheerful happy grateful frame of mind, Satan will eventually lead us captive at his will.
If you are a negative, nagging, nitpicker you will eventually be legalistic, lonesome, and lost! Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. Instead of asking God for better bones, why not right now, ask God to create within you a kind, appreciative and grateful heart. Then your own bones will not be poisoned with the acidity of your sour thoughts. Learn to express your praise to others and especially to God. "Nothing tends more to promote health of body and of soul than does a spirit of gratitude and praise." - Ministry of Healing, by EG White, p.251.
Notice that in the Bible story that when the healed leper came back, Jesus lingered. He was still there. I think Jesus wanted somebody to say, "Thank you." I think Jesus appreciates our praise. Today if Jesus were to go through our fair town, and heal everyone, and someone got missed, he might sue the Savior. In America we are too quick to sue. We have too many suers in America today. There is too much selfishness today. Let's cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Be thankful and be less demanding, less critical. All too often in our homes we are just like the nine ex-lepers. Picture this scene: One of the children sets the supper table, and during the first few minutes of the meal, the mother looks for the salt. "Did you forget the salt again? Why, you always leave something off the table. Can't you ever get it right?"
Shame on us if this spirit is manifest at our supper table in our home. Let us praise our children and over-look their lack of perfection. At least they got everything else right. Of the fifty or so things on the table they only missed one, that is ninety-eight percent correct! Praise them. Let's praise God, and compliment our wives and hug our children. Be happy.
You may say, "I have nothing to be happy about". If life is a little harder, you can still be thankful. The hard conditions of life may be to our advantage. After all, you can't sharpen a knife on cotton candy.
Our gratitude should be as regular as our heart beat. On thanksgiving day, sit down and write a letter to your husband or wife. List the things that you appreciate in them. Write a letter to God. Express your joys and gratitude to Him.
Perhaps it is time to really be thankful. Surrender your heart to Jesus. Ask Him to give you a whole new attitude. Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me. A spirit of thanksLiving.
Hymn of Praise: #560, Let All Things Now Living Scripture: Responsive Reading #723 Hymn of Response: #8, We Gather Together 051126#201
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last updated 26/11/05 by Bob Beckett.