“Thank you, Mom, for making dinner tonight,” he said.
Samuel, the seven year old man-child who reaches my shoulders, flashes his dimpled cheeks and reveals the glint his eyes have held since the day he was born.
The other two were entrenched in various after-dinner-before-bath activities, the promise of nightfall upon us with mama yearning for the hours to sit silent and the beginning traces of over-tired children starting to emerge.
And I laughed.
Because during the past week, the story of how Jesus healed the ten men with leprosy has been quietly beckoning my attention, nudging me to just stop think on these things for even just a moment.
It happened that as he made his way toward Jerusalem, he crossed over the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten men, all lepers, met him. They kept their distance but raised their voices, calling out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
Taking a good look at them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”
They went, and while still on their way, became clean. One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. He kneeled at Jesus’ feet, so grateful. He couldn’t thank him enough—and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus said, “Were not ten healed? Where are the nine? Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?” Then he said to him, “Get up. On your way. Your faith has healed and saved you.” – Luke 17:11-19 (The Message)
Samuel was a one in ten. He went back to the source of his blessing to say a simple “thank you” – two simple words filled with great power.
How often I have been among the nine who fled with their overly-generous gifts without ever looking back?
How many times have I made snap judgments of people based on where they were from?
How often do I forget to say thank-you for even the smallest of blessings?
Back in the day, people didn’t think too highly of Samaritans. Yet it was a Samaritan man who was the one who went back to express his gratitude.
He wasn’t THE one but he was A one.
And you and I can do the same. We can be A one that glorifies THE One.
A simple “thank you” spoken to someone who is in our daily circle of influence holds contagious power that encourages and uplifts. Two simple words can give us the opportunity to show Jesus to the world.
So this Thanksgiving, let’s be like the one who went back. Let’s be a one who remembers to thank the source of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). And let’s be a one that remembers to thank the hands and feet that produce our good and perfect gifts. Teachers. The dry-cleaning woman who’s always so kind. The Schwan’s man. The librarian who patiently reminds your children 1,034 times to not run in the library.
Be a one.
Be a one who thanks God for the family He’s entrusted to you.
Be a one who says “thank you” for the daily bread we consume each day.
Be a one who says “thank you for teaching my child. I see how hard you work and I appreciate all you do.”
Be A one that glorifies THE one.
Happy Thanksgiving, my dear, dear friends. I really just cannot even express how grateful I am for each and every one of you. Some of you have reached out to offer encouragement on days when I think it’s best I just throw in the towel. Thank you. Some of you have written to share your “me too” stories that make me feel not quite so alone. Thank you. And some of you have dropped me an email to say you were praying for me. Thank you.
I’m going to unplug until Monday, friends. I encourage you to do the same. Put down your phones. Close your laptops. Don’t look at your calendar.
Instead, play games. Laugh with your children instead of always feeling like you just take care of your children. Be lazy. Have jammy days.
Because enjoying those good and perfect gifts are one way we say “thank you.” So go be A one. I will, too.