November 7, 2010

Nameless But Notable XIII: A Leper, A Turkey & Sweet Potatoes

"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!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. 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. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” ~Luke 17:11-19

Imagine being accosted by ten lepers. Scratch that, imagine being accosted by one leper. An unnerving prospect...unless you are the Lord. They call from a distance, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" They are told to go show themselves to the priests and in route, they are healed miraculously. One returns to pay proper reverence to the One responsible for this life changing event. Leprosy was akin to an isolated death sentence. Ten of them together would've been like living in a death commune. All dying and all falling to pieces, literally. Ten returns to give thanks to his healer. Being a Savior is a nearly thankless job in this situation. What is even more amazing is that, again we see a Samaritan exhibiting the virtues that should've been expected from God's chosen.

As it was then it is also today. We take for granted when things are done for us. We expect things to be done for us. This is especially true in the United States. We feel we have earned it or deserve it. It is an entitlement mentality. It is the selfish mentality that is now driving debt into the stratosphere and causing people to clearly live beyond their means enslaved and indentured to banks for 5, 10, 20 and even 30 years in the case of mortgage loans. Even with 30 year loans people are so overextended they live paycheck to paycheck as they can barely afford the payments of the mountain of debt from purchased items that they feel they deserve or entitled to. This is insane...and unbiblical. Although the Bible does not forbid debt it does frown upon people that go into debt for extended periods of time with loans that are not conducive to being paid back quickly. In the scale of a lifetime, I do not consider anything over 10 years quick. I would consider it rather "sloth-like" or as we say in Pennsylvania, "slow as molasses".

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. ~Romans 13:8

The Bible spares no wrath or harsh words of condemnation for lenders who abuse those who are bound to them in debt, but it does not condemn the debtor per se. In the general pattern of Scripture we see an image of being debt free though. It does not explicitly say so though. Anyone with any sense that can avoid the possibility of debt should avoid it as it is essentially a fiscal from of indenture.

The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender. ~Proverbs 22:7

What else can we see in our initial passage other than nine ungratefully healed lepers? We see one prominantly grateful and healed Samaritan that is respectful and courteous, and praising Jesus publically and abundantly. We see another case of someone outside the covenant nation manifesting one of the greatest responses to a gracious God. Sadly, we see this all over the Gospels.
Sadly, we see this in our world today too. We take what we "deserve" never once giving thanks to the One who made it possible to get it. Failing to acknowledge to true source of our blessing and abundance. We now literally skip from Halloween to Christmas in the holiday schedule and what holiday do we miss in between? You guessed it, Thanksgiving. This year, when you sit down in front of a table full of food, try to remember why its there. It isn't necessarily because you deserve it, it is because God is gracious and full of mercy. He is deserving of our praise and thanksgiving. If we truly got what we deserved, we would look like that bird on the table with the drumsticks ripped off and the knife and fork sticking in its back.
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