"Where are the nine?" (Luke 17:17)
Jesus asks three questions.
1. Were there not ten healed? Yes.
2. Where are the other nine? Gone.
3. Is there no one here but this foreigner? No one.
If you listen carefully, you can hear surprise, shock, and most of all sadness. Jesus wanted to know about the others. Where are they? Weren't they healed? Why didn't they come back and say "Thank You"?
It's a good question. Why didn't they come back?
—Perhaps they were in a hurry to see the priest.
—Perhaps they thought Jesus was gone.
—Perhaps they assumed Jesus knew how grateful they were.
—Perhaps they were too busy.
So where are they now?
Gone off with their blessings.
Gone to see the priest.
Gone to see their families.
Gone with no word of thanks to Jesus.
The question remains: Where are the nine? They got what they wanted and left. They're like children who eat their fill and then run from dinner table without a word of thanks. "We're full now. Let's go out and play."
Those raised in the church often do the same thing. Because we have so little sense of what God has done for us, we don't love the Lord very much or feel grateful for his blessings.
We go through life saying, "What have you done for me lately, Lord?" And the Lord replies, "If only you knew."
Ten men were healed that day, but only one came back to give thanks. Are you living with the nine or with the one? Far too many of us take our blessings for granted and groan about duties. Does that sound like you? It doesn't have to be that way.
Praise is a choice. No one is forced into bitterness. You choose the way you live. The one who returned to give thanks chose not to forget what Jesus had done for him.
When you bring your requests to the Lord today, don't forget to ask him for the gift of a grateful heart.
Open our eyes, Lord, because we are so blind to your goodness. We take so much for granted and forget that you are the source of all our blessings. Deliver us from the sin of ingratitude. Number us not among the nine but with the one who came back give thanks to you. Amen.