10 Percenters

Luke 17 tells the story of the cleansing of the ten lepers. Jesus had come into their village and they were shouting from a distance for him to cure them. Jesus said, “Go show yourselves to the priest” and then as they were walking toward the synagogue they were all ten healed. Imagine the moment.

Leprosy is such a stigmatizing disease. It’s painful, disfiguring and life long. Ten men were facing a life sentence with a stigmatizing debilitating disease but now they were free. Can you imagine the relief?

Nine raced away to tell family and friends, but one of the ten returned to the healer and fell at his feet in grateful worship. Jesus lifted his face and said, “Were there not ten healed? Where are the other nine?”

Only 10% were thankful. I wonder if that’s an accurate statistical reflection on gratitude. The sad truth is that most people don’t naturally express thankfulness. Blessings are usually taken for granted and instead of appreciating what we’ve received we simply learn to expect more.

During my days as a student minister I had to make the annual trip to Astroworld. For me, it was an all day beat down. The kids in my group loved it.

One year I messed up and instead of scheduling our trip on the annual Christian Day I accidentally booked it during a Depeche Mode concert. Depeche Mode was one of those 80’s bands that enjoyed their fifteen minutes of fame. Unfortunately for me, on this day the punk band was at the pinnacle of their fifteen minutes.

They were so big that Astroworld set an attendance record! Few things are worse than being at a Six Flags themed park in the blistering heat of a Houston summer and setting an attendance record with gothic punk groupies.

There were more safety pins than a hospital nursery.

I was standing in line listening to two gothic girls talk about their dads. One said, “He says he works hard for me. He isn’t working for me . . .” Ok, I get the anger at her father’s absence but still I’m thinking, “Someone IS working for you.”

There’s no way this girl has a job and that means someone else purchased her ticket to Astroworld, gave her the money for food and snacks for the day, and bought the extra ticket to the Depeche Mode concert. Someone paid for her piercings and that crazy outfit. I was thinking, “That girls mousse bill would break me.” It was fairly clear to me that someone was working for her but she had become so used to it that she didn’t even acknowledge it.

King Lear said, “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child.”

But this isn’t’ a just a thankless child problem. Nine out of ten received Jesus’ beautiful gift and never looked back. I wonder how often that is true of me. How much do I take for granted? How often do I greedily consume the blessing without giving a thought for the One that blessed me?

Ten people were healed. Only one returned to say thank you to the healer. 10% were thankful. I wonder if we worked on this if we couldn’t get that percentage up a bit, and together live more meaningful and less stressful lives.



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