December 5, 2020

Difficult Scriptures: Thanksgiving Edition

11-13It happened that as he made his way toward Jerusalem, he crossed over the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten men, all lepers, met him. They kept their distance but raised their voices, calling out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

14-16Taking a good look at them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”

They went, and while still on their way, became clean. One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. He kneeled at Jesus’ feet, so grateful. He couldn’t thank him enough—and he was a Samaritan.

17-19Jesus said, “Were not ten healed? Where are the nine? Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?” Then he said to him, “Get up. On your way. Your faith has healed and saved you.” (Luke 17:11-19, The Message)

This is not a difficult passage of Scripture to understand. Ten lepers come to Jesus seeking to be healed. Jesus tells them to go show themselves to the priest, and as they do as Jesus said they are healed. All ten are healed, but only one comes back to thank Jesus.

Pretty straightforward stuff, isn’t it? So why is it, if it is so easy to understand, that so few of us return to thank Jesus for all he has done for us? Or am I the only one who, when reading this in Luke’s Gospel, feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit in not returning to say Thank You? If returning thanks glorifies God, should we not make thanksgiving a year-round event?

So in today’s Difficult Scriptures, I want to offer you the opportunity to thank God for what you have received from him. Share with us what you are thankful to God for. Let us all glorify God together for the great things he has done.


  1. I always find this passage convicting. I pray for the day when I can read it and know that I have been faithful to return thanks. What I find is that, all too often, I receive God’s blessing only to begin thinking about what comes next. Thank you for a solid reminder, that the next step after the blessing is thankgiving.


  2. I am thankful to Jesus that He is the kind of savior who touches lepers and prostitutes and tax collectors and hedonistic, nihilistic reprobates like I once was (and still am to certain degree). I’m thankful that He allows us to experience His touch and presence in very real ways throughout the course of our lives.
    Perhaps the first time I really experienced His touch was while sitting in a car one night in a church parking lot. I had just attended a men’s Monday night prayer meeting and was about to start the 40-minute drive back to my home in another town. I had come to the prayer meeting in a state of extreme frustration and inner turmoil. Part of me was wanting to believe in this God, this Jesus these church folk kept talking about as if He were a close friend or relative they saw and talked to on a daily basis — but the other part of me just couldn’t get past the mental habits of cynicism and skepticism I had developed over the years. That night, however, God used those guys in that prayer circle to really speak to the internal struggle I was fighting — and, that night, I made the mental choice to believe, or, at least, to try to believe as far as I was able. I guess Jesus wanted to wait until I was alone — away from any distractions or anything I could rationalize away as group manipulation — to make Himself known to me. But, as soon as I shut that car door, His Spirit embraced me. I could try to describe what I mean by that, but I fear any words I offered would fall miserably short. Suffice to say, it was completely unexpected and unlike anything I had ever experienced before. And that experience marked a very real turning point in my life.
    So, I just want to say thank you, Jesus, for ambushing me (though in a really good way) in my car that night twelve years ago. And thank you for the countless times you’ve touched me since then.

  3. Oh where to start! At Bible College my husband and I were to go to Nepal with a Missionary Society, but our daughter was diagnosed with Leukaemia, our son started to have Epileptic fits and my Father died of Cancer. My husband suffered a heart attack though only 35,and died 4 years later.
    I was so angry with God I married a muslim who beat me because I shared my faith with the muslim community I lived in. He became very violent and we divorced.
    Over the last 11 years bringing up children alone,I have known the unfathomable love of God,his forgiveness, peace and building up of my faith. At the end of December I will,God willing, be marrying a Minister in the Church of Scotland,and beginning a whole new adventure in ministry! Praise Jesus!!!

  4. Yes, wonderful reminder that it is difficult to develop thankfulness.
    Certainly I am thankful for all the studies and lessons and discussions that take place here in Michael’s absence. He was and you all are a blessing to this wayfaring stranger.
    Blessings abundant to you CM and the whole team.

  5. How often I find myself praying for something and then when I receive the answer, I forget to return thanks. I wonder how many times I don’t even realize I received the answer. God is good.
    Waxing theological: If faith healed the one, what/ who healed the others? I also like that the Samaritan’s act of faith was thanksgiving. Thanks is an expression of faith. O me of little faith!

  6. What do we need to thank Him for?

    Don’t we have it (whatever) coming to us?

    We can all fall into that trap now and then.

    Hopefully not too often

  7. I am very grateful this morning. Working on very little sleep because the Thanksgiving meal must be prepared early, but I don’t care. To have my little family together today seems like a not-so-small miracle.

    I am grateful that God has taught me about gratitude. To be grateful for small things. To be grateful in all things. God is good.

  8. one more Mike says

    I’m thankful for the IMonk community, Chaplain Mike, Jeff and all who contribute here. And for the memory and continuing influence of Micheal Spencer.

    May the lord bless and keep you all.

  9. I’m 12 years clean and sober. That in itself is a miracle on the order of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Now I’m a church planting pastor with an amazing wife, four children and a fifth on the way. This is all God’s work…had I been given my way I’d have been dead many years ago.

    When I think about it, I usually sum it up with this verse: “The life I live is lived through faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal 2.20)

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  10. Kelby Carlson says

    I’m going to be deliberately subversive. i thank God for not healing me. I thank God for allwoing me to live the life of a disabled person. I thank God that, through this life–though it has happened slowly, painstakingly, and imperfectly–I have come to gain a glimpse of the lives of the disenfranchised. i thank God that the Ugly Laws no longer keep me from the public square. i thank God for people that stand up and say, “Enough!” I thank God for my family, who have cultivated in me an appreciation for, not a rejection of, blindness.

  11. I’m going to be cheeky and steal someone else’s words; “Pied Beauty” by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

    “GLORY be to God for dappled things—
    For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
    For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
    Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
    Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
    And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

    All things counter, original, spare, strange;
    Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
    With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
    He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
    Praise him. ”

    I’m very thankful for the beauty of this world, and the good fortune I’ve had in my life. I’m extremely thankful for all of you, and all the other online friends I’ve made, and the kindness I’ve received.

    I should be more thankful and grateful for the grace of God and the benefits of holy religion. I like to complain a lot about “Tsk! Kids these days!”, particularly when it comes to the Catholic Church, but I’d really be lost without it.

    I’m thankful for my family, and my country, and the undeserved good luck I’ve had in my life. Any ill fortune was all my own doing 🙂

  12. Tigger 23505 says

    It does reflect a major reality of life – that most if not all of us are spiritually sick. We will accept less than the best if we can see it, touch it, taste it. We are unwilling to accept God’s best for us because most are simply incapable of seeing it.

    Mat 22:1-14 And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, (2) The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, (3) And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. (4) Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. (5) But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: (6) And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. (7) But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. (8) Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. (9) Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. (10) So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. (11) And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: (12) And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. (13) Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (14) For many are called, but few are chosen.

  13. Dan Crawford says

    What is it that we have not received? This has been a particularly bad year because my youngest brother and several dear friends died. I am thankful to God for their lives and for their being part of my life. And as I get older, I have begun to see all things (even the things that have stirred great anxiety in me or given me great pain) as gifts. Even more, I am vividly aware that I have the greatest gift of all – life itself – both the life I live in the flesh and the life eternal that is mine because of God’s great gift of love Jesus Christ. Thank you, Lord, for all you have given me and forgive my failure to live gratefully.

  14. Denise Day Spencer says

    I’m thankful to God for sustaining me through the most difficult year of my life. I’m grateful for new life as we await the birth of my first grandchild. I thank the Lord for friends and family who have been an incredible support system for me. I cannot express my gratitude to all who prayed for Michael and our family and who continue to do so. But through it all, most of all, I thank Christ my King who died for me.

  15. I just heard someone give a Thanksgiving sermon on this passage. It was definitely a case where gospel was turned into law: the nine were not sufficiently thankful, so be like the one rather than the nine and make God smile. This is not a moral story. It is a story of paradox and revelation. Nine were healed and returned happily to the acceptance of society, religious culture, and normal life; I bet they were quite thankful to be back. The one, through this healing, recognized that the Messiah had come to him, and his world would never be the same. He crossed over to the other side Jordan, was baptized spiritually, so to speak. There was no going back. Jesus healed him, but turned his world up-side-down. Like the residence of the town where the demons were cast into the herd of pigs, often we are not thankful when Jesus disturbs our normality. Like Dostoevsky’s character, “The Grand Inquisitor”, we often see the appearance of Jesus as an intrusion, even if it comes with miracles.

  16. I thank God everyday that he died for a sinner like me. All I have to do is believe that Jesus is Lord. Sin is sin, pride, murder, hating gays, or muslims, or gossiping about church members, it’s all the same, but we can all be forgiven if we ask. That’s what I am thankful for.


  18. I could make this a long comment, but I’ll spare you that. The thought I woke up with was Satan’s scornful, skeptical question: “Does Job fear God [or thank God] for nothing?” (Job 1:9) And the answer is that in the lives of great saints of God past and present, the answer is Yes. Not because of sheer willpower or some kind of stoic determination, but because they are branches growing out of the Vine.

  19. I’m thankful — although it’s hard — for the daily prunings, mortifications, and deaths that God brings me as signs of his love for me. I’d have given up on me long since, but he never does. Though this life is hard, I give thanks daily for the means of grace and for the hope of glory.

  20. I am thankful for this breath for it might very well be the last one. And if perchance the next one comes I’m thankful for that, for evidently I have things He wants me to attend to.

  21. According to Rabbi Meir in the Talmud, “A person is obliged to recite 100 blessings every day.” How much more thankful would we all be if our lives were lived in constant gratitude. A noble challenge for us all.

  22. Thankful for the IMonk community and for Michael Spencer, who unknowingly played a huge role in my spiritual journey. This website has been something of a “safe haven” for me, and I am so grateful for it.

    Thankful for my daughter, who was born to this 40-something couple who didn’t want kids and hadn’t planned them … she has turned my life upside down, but I can’t imagine life without her.

    Thankful for my husband, who has put up with me through months of post-partum depression and whose patience amazes me.