Monday, July 19, 2004
One of the things I notice in my life right now is a lack of gratitude. I'm not a very thankful person, at least from my perspective. I don't know why - there's so much to be thankful for, and so many people who are such integral parts of my life. I'm just not generally one to give voice or real action to my "thank you".
I'm challenged by At The Feet Of Jesus, by Brian Shipman, where in Chapter 7 he shares the story of the ten lepers healed by Jesus (Luke 17:11-19). He weaves a very good anointed-imagination version of the story that stretches more than the nine verses, but the gist is at the center of everything Jesus taught. There were ten lepers in need of healing, and they believed Jesus as the Son of God could heal their disease and uncleanness. Jesus told all ten to go present themselves to the priest, the liturgical thing to do so that their healing could be confirmed by the man of God. As they turned to go to the priest, they were not healed, but as they went and followed Christ's command, they were healed. Their obedience seems to have opened the door for healing, with all ten men cleansed before God and man.
But only nine continued to the priest, while one turned back to worship Jesus. Nine of them were obedient, and one of them actually disobeyed in coming back to fall at the feet of the One who had healed him completely. Nine went ahead to the priest so that official confirmation from the religious establishment could bless them as clean. They were obeying Christ to the letter of His "command" to go to the priest. But this one "disobedient" man ran back to worship Jesus in deep gratitude and joy.
The relationship can never take the backseat to obedience. True whole-hearted obedience will only flow out of true whole-hearted relationship with the Father. Obedience cannot be an excuse for not growing in relationship, and the relationship cannot be an excuse for disobedience. Somewhere in here, I need to obey, and I need to be thankful, and I need to be so thankful that I find myself even more obedient. The other nine were obedient, but only to the establishment, only to themselves, only to make themselves proper and justified. But the grateful one wanted to worship; the thankful one needed to go back and thank Jesus. The relationship, and realizing Who had done this more than What had been done, was the most important thing to him.
That's what I'm trying to get my mind & spirit around today, that following Him for the relationship is more important than following Him for the obedience and for what He can do for me. If Jesus did not bless, if He did not heal, if He did not save - He would still be God and still be worthy of our praise and our gratitude (Daniel 3).