It Wasn’t God…

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 2 Samuel 14-15; Luke 17:1-19

11 On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he entered a village, ten men with skin diseases approached him. Keeping their distance from him, 13 they raised their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, show us mercy!”

14 When Jesus saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”As they left, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw that he had been healed, returned and praised God with a loud voice. 16 He fell on his face at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus replied, “Weren’t ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18  No one returned to praise God except this foreigner?” 19 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up and go. Your faith has healed you.”

How easy it is.  When things in life are bad, we are quick to ask God to help. When things are good, well, not so much. Way too many of us start taking credit for what God actually did. “It wasn’t God. There’s no point in thanking God. I took care of that myself. Just like always, I picked myself up by my own bootstraps and took care of business. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again. It wasn’t God.”

Before long, however, we are down off the mountaintop and things aren’t going so well. Things are beyond what we can do for ourselves so we stop and pray. “Lord, I can’t handle this, I need your help. Please come and help me.” God does, we forget to be thankful, we take credit and when things go bad again… well I think you get the idea.

Things couldn’t have been much worse for those ten guys. Leprosy, the name given by those in the Biblical era for any one of a number of skin diseases. At least some of these diseases were very contagious. When someone contracted the disease they lost everything. They lost their ability to work, to make a living for their family, really they lost their ability to even support themselves. They lost their family. Think about it, would you want to infect your family with such a terrible disease? Most of us wouldn’t even consider it.

Probably what made the disease as bad as it possibly could be, by law, these men and women lived in isolation, outside towns and villages, depending on the kindness of family and friends or strangers for their survival. To cap it all off, when someone approached, the “leper” was required, by law, to shout as loud as possible, “UNCLEAN! UNCLEAN!”

When Jesus was coming close that day, they didn’t do as the law required. They didn’t yell, “UNCLEAN UNCLEAN!” Instead, it was, “Jesus, Master, show us mercy!” In other words, “Lord, I can’t handle this, I need your help. Please come and help me.” Do those words sound familiar? They should. If they don’t, read again from the top.

As they traveled back, they discovered they are cleansed, made well. Nine of them just keep moving. Over history, we have given those guys some grief for not going back. But, they were doing exactly what Jesus told them to do. But, Jesus himself is critical of their behavior. When one man, a hated Samaritan, is the only one to return, Jesus asks, “Where are the other nine?”

Could it be that the nine were saying, “It wasn’t God. There’s no point in thanking God. I took care of that myself. Just like always, I picked myself up by my own bootstraps and took care of business. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again. It wasn’t God.”

As for the only man to return? Jesus said, “Your faith has healed you.” That could lead us to think, there is a difference between being well, and being healed. From the way I read it, I think I would rather be healed.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s