The Other Samaritan

In Sunday School I learned about the “Good Samaritan.” He demonstrated “loving his neighbor” by picking up a hurt man on the side of the road and caring for him. This was the model of the second most important command to love your neighbor as yourself.

‘One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”’ Matthew 22:35-40

Today in my #DailyBibleReading (Luke 17) I read about another Samaritan, this one embodying the first command: loving God.

Jesus was traveling by foot when he met a group of men with leprosy. They were outcasts with debilitating diseases. Shunned by society. Considered unclean. Nine of the men were Jewish, like Jesus. One was a Samaritan. (And as much as I’d like to geek out on the biblical history of the Samaritans and Jews, I’ll control myself!)

The group of men saw Jesus and starting calling out to him to have pity on them. Jesus told them to go show themselves to the priests. Again, not to get too much into history and law, but if someone had a skin lesion or leprosy they would have to show themselves to a priest – and show that they were healed – to be considered “clean” of the disease. (Leviticus 13).

I am sure these men were thrilled. They had probably heard stories about Jesus healing people, casting out demons, and feeding thousands of people with just a few loaves of bread and fish. Maybe they had even heard about him raising people from the dead. And now Jesus was sending them to the priests which could only mean one thing – he was going to heal them and they would be declared clean and could return to society.

As they were going to find a priest to declare them clean, Jesus healed them. I imagine they looked down at their hands and arms as they walked, and the blisters and ulcers on their skin vanished. The pain in their joints was gone. The sensation on their skin returned. They could feel the sun and wind.

One man – the Samaritan – saw he was healed and stopped in his tracks.

The other nine men kept running to find the priest, probably more eager to get to the priest than ever before.

The Samaritan turned around and headed back to Jesus.

He was praising God in a loud voice.

He threw himself at Jesus’ feet.

He thanked Him.

Who am I? The one who returned to thank Jesus or the nine who were too busy?

When I am feeling lonely or outcast, do I praise God? When I am healed, and rejoicing do I humble myself and throw myself at Jesus’ feet? Do I praise God in a loud voice, regardless of my circumstances, because He has saved me?

No, usually I behave like one of the nine.

But, like the Samaritan, I am a foreigner. I was unclean and sick in my sin. But God took pity on me and saved me. Healed me. Made me clean.

And I should express my gratitude daily. With all my heart, all my soul, and all my mind.

 

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30 Days of Gratitude

I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD. Psalms 116:17 

#DailyBibleReading #BibleReadingPlan

In the Old Testament, the Israelites made “thanksgiving” offerings to God, praising and thanking Him (Leviticus 7). Throughout Psalms and the New Testament, there are many verses and examples of people thanking God. We are instructed to give thanks and praise God.

With Thanksgiving looming around the corner and repeated biblical encouragement to be thankful, how can I cultivate a heart of Thanksgiving? How can I teach my children to be grateful?

30 Days of Gratitude

  1. Write a prompt thank you note upon receiving a gift or act of kindness.
  2. Smile and thank people I come in contact with – from someone opening a door for me to a waiter to my child or my husband.
  3. Thank God daily for His greatness and the gifts He has given me.
  4. Keep a gratitude journal.
  5. Put a stickie note in my daughters’ backpack or lunch, thanking them for something specific they’ve done.
  6. Send my parent or grandparent a card, thanking them for loving me and something unique they’ve done that I appreciate.
  7. Leave a huge tip.
  8. Sing praise songs to Jesus.
  9. If I see someone in uniform, thank him or her for their service. If it is in a coffee shop, pick up the tab.
  10. Call someone out on Facebook in a positive way, thanking them/praising them for something they’ve done.
  11. Call an elected official or send a note to thank them for something they’ve done . . . even if they are of a different political party.
  12. Compliment an employee to their superior.
  13. Send my child’s teachers a nice note or email, thanking them for teaching my daughter.
  14. Write my husband a love letter, listing at least 10 detailed things about him that I’m grateful for.
  15. Verbally thank a co-worker for something they’ve done or something I appreciate about them (not by email or text).
  16. Don’t complain for one full day. Don’t even think complaints. Shut them down as soon as they start and concentrate on the positive.
  17. Congratulate someone on an accomplishment.
  18. Volunteer at least one day out of 30 . . . visit a nursing home, serve a meal at a homeless shelter, pass out food at a food pantry, etc.
  19. In a group setting, praise my husband for something specific.
  20. Bring a snack to my church office with a thank you note for the pastors and staff.
  21. Offer to take a friend out and tell them how much I appreciate their friendship. Pay for lunch or coffee.
  22. Send a cute/funny GIF by text to thank someone.
  23. Spend time before church praying and preparing my heart . . . and then during church concentrate completely on God while singing His praises.
  24. Make an anonymous contribution or give a gift to someone in need, without them knowing who it is from.
  25. Practice saying “no thank you” in front of my children and encourage them to do the same. Show gratitude even when declining something.
  26. Thank God for everything . . . that means even the hard things. Even the things I don’t like. Even the hurts I’ve experienced. Thank Him for those experiences, recognize He is in control and all things will work together for good.
  27. Have my husband and children do a Love Languages quiz and then pick several concrete things to do to show them love in their language.
  28. Watch my tone – use gentle words and a kind tone when talking to my family.
  29. Give my husband a small gift to thank him for loving me.
  30. Set a good example for my kids – say “thank you” regularly and encourage them to thank others. Talk to them about the importance of saying thanks and gently point out opportunities to say thanks.

Then I will praise God’s name with singing, and I will honor him with thanksgiving. For this will please the LORD more than sacrificing cattle, more than presenting a bull with its horns and hooves. Psalms 69:30-31

Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him. Psalms 95:2

Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Colossians 4:2

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. Colossians 3:16-17