Gratitude's Reward (Just A Minute #113)

Andy Bonikowsky
Written by Andy Bonikowsky

And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. . . . And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole. (Luke 17:16 &19)

The text seems to say that he made a U-turn as soon as he noticed his skin was new. If so, the gratitude in his heart was such a powerful force that it moved him to go against the rest.

They had all started their day in the same way . . . ten men with a deadly disease. They had all been at the edge of the village when Jesus came into sight. Together they heard His odd command to present themselves to the priests and as one they started walking towards Jerusalem.

As they went it happened. Their extremities grew out and their skin became healthy again. I wonder if they didn't start shouting and dancing like a bunch of kids! After the first burst of happiness, they probably started running towards the temple.

But now there were only nine.

One stayed back, silent and pondering. His thoughts were not about what he could do with his brand new body. Nor was he trying to decide how he would surprise his family. His mind was thinking about the kind Master who had included him in the miracle. Why had the Man been so gracious to him? Had the Healer known there was a Samaritan in the group?

Yes, of course, He had to know. Anyone with that kind of power was from God.

Well, the priests would have to wait. He could think of nothing else but rushing back to thankfully throw himself down before those sacred feet.

Interestingly, the Teacher did not scold him for turning back from his trip to the temple. Instead, He praised him and rewarded him.

The reward made him richer than Ceasar.

The other nine went to the priests and then back to their former neighborhoods, to enjoy the embraces of family and friends, and become the talk of the day. Basking in the pleasure of God's blessing, it never occurred to them that the foreigner, who had disappeared while on their way to the temple, was now enjoying a happiness far superior to theirs. They had no idea of the eternal gift he had received.

Why does the Holy Spirit go into such detail to describe this thanksgiving moment? Is it really that important? Obviously it is. The Samaritan's huge reward stands in bold contrast to his simple expression of gratitude. It can only mean one thing.

God delights in blessing the grateful heart.

What motivated the man to turn around and go back to the Lord? Did he have any inkling that there could be more waiting for him there? We won't know until eternity, but we will find out.

The Samaritan ex-leper will be there.

So what is the reward for gratitude?

No idea. That is the point. When God is the Rewarder (Heb. 11:6) anything can happen!

Dear Father, many times I have enjoyed Your touch of blessing and gone about my business without so much as a word of gratitude. What could possibly be more important? Please forgive me. Amen.