Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Nursery Workers and Uncertain Nationalities

Suggested Reading: Luke 17:11-19

Several years ago, I got the chance to interview candidates for a nursery worker position for our church. We only had a couple interviews, but one of the young ladies who applied stood out from the rest. Not only did she have more prior experience than the others but she dressed more professionally, had a more personable demeanor, and simply impressed me more. That young lady ended up getting the job and has since become a well-loved friend of the family. Primarily because, initially, she simply stood out.

In Luke 17, Jesus has an encounter with ten lepers, all of whom he healed, but only one of which came back to thank him. These lepers all lived in an area along the border between Samaria and Galilee and, all being outcasts from both societies, they probably had a good mix of both Jews and Samaritans. But the only thing we know about any of these men, other than that they all had leprosy, is found in two verses. 'One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan' (Luke 17:15-16, NLT).

Did you catch that? We have what might be a mixed group of men, both Jewish and Samaritan. Might. But we don't know. The only thing we know for sure about this group, aside from the leprosy, is that this man was a Samaritan. Why? Because being grateful and demonstrating his gratitude made him stand out enough for that detail to be recorded.

We live in a dark, fallen, ungrateful world. And when we demonstrate gratitude -- real gratitude --  it stands out. People are surprised by genuine gratitude when they encounter it in a society filled with attitudes of entitlement and give-me-give-me mindsets. Demonstrating genuine gratitude sets you apart and causes people to take notice of you. And, when we are trying to win the world for Jesus, standing out because of our gratitude is not a bad place to start.

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