As a pastor and traveling minister, I have had the pleasure of seeing many people’s lives changed by the power of God and faith in His Word. I have witnessed as those who faced impossibilities with no answer in sight, receive the wisdom of God, and saw Jesus turn their situations completely around.
I’ve seen marriages restored when divorce seemed so certain. And I’ve watch God heal sick people with various ailments and infirmities, by His mighty power and the anointing of the Holy Ghost. And I’m sure there are more testimonies than I could possibly remember, of financial breakthroughs, job promotions and supernatural increase that I have witnessed among those in our ministry as well.
Yet with all of that, there is something else I have noticed, and it grieves me to the core. I have seen so many believers who have been healed in their bodies, had their needs met by the Lord Jesus, and experienced a supernatural overflow financially, who never demonstrated a thankful and a grateful heart to the Lord afterward at all. And based on their lack of commitment to the Lord and His House once they arrive on the other side of their breakthrough, you can’t help but think that they had some very twisted, selfish thinking.
But the truth is, Jesus dealt with this very same thing in His ministry. Here is what happened to Him.
And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: 13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. 14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. 15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. 17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? 18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. 19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.Luke 17:11-19 KJV
Leprosy is a terrible disease with no cure. It is often referred to, religiously speaking, as a disease of those who are in sin and rebellion. And when a person had leprosy, no one other than other lepers could or would have anything to do with them, let alone get close to them. It is a highly contagious, slow, painful, agonizing death, which grows worse and worse with each passing day.
These ten lepers were completely hopeless. So when they came near to Jesus, they appealed for His mercy. They wanted to live! So Jesus gave them instructions that it would take faith for them to carry out. In fact, that is something you must understand as well. If you want a breakthrough, there will be things that you must do by faith as well.
Jesus told these ten lepers to go and show themselves to the priests. A leper was to do this after he or she received their healing and cleansing. But Jesus instructed these ten men to go by faith, in advance of their healing. And as they were going by faith, they were cleansed of this terrible disease.
Here are a few nuggets for you to remember:
- Obedience creates the atmosphere for miracles.
- Almost every time you see a miracle in the Old or New Testaments, it is after someone submits to and fully obeys God by faith.
As these lepers stepped out in faith and obedience, the disease began to leave their bodies. However, after the healing was obvious to all of them, only one of the ten turned back to give thanks and worship Jesus.
This one man was the only one with a grateful heart, who was willing to return to Jesus and to worship Him for his miraculous healing. And when you read this story you can’t help but wonder, what in the world are these other nine knuckle heads thinking? Jesus just healed them of a guaranteed death sentence, and they don’t have enough gratitude to even say thank you. How pathetic!
And sadly, the Body of Christ and our local churches are filled with people just like this. The Lord Jesus shows Himself strong on their behalf, making what was previously impossible, possible, and they still won’t praise the Lord. They receive their healing by the power of God, and yet can’t be faithful to church. They receive a financial miracle but still won’t tithe or give offerings.
I can’t tell you how many times I have come to the pulpit and looked out over the congregation and asked myself, “Where are the other nine?” How could so many people who have received so much from the Lord be so completely ungrateful and uncommitted? And then I wonder how they sleep at night, knowing how much Jesus has done for them, and how little they ever do for Him.
However, perhaps the most powerful part of the story above is the part that is often passed over. Because as we read in verse nineteen, Jesus tells the leper who returned to give thanks that his faith had made him whole. And we must realize that there is a difference between being cleansed and being made whole.
Being cleansed means the disease has left your body. But being made whole means that everything that was damaged or destroyed by the disease has been restored to normal.
Whatever it is that is stopping you from having a grateful heart, and turning around and worshipping Jesus for all that He has done for you, is also keeping you from receiving the miracle of wholeness in your life.
Jesus wanted to make the other nine whole, too. But they stopped Him short from fulfilling His plan in their life because they did not have a grateful heart, to the point they were willing to return and worship Him. People who are easily distracted into skipping church and prayer and Bible reading, can be numbered with this group. Because only people who are unthankful for all the Lord has done for them, would ever miss time with Him on purpose.
If you are truly grateful for what God has done in your life, then you are going to be a true worshipper and praiser, you are going to faithfully attend church and prayer meetings, and you are going to be a tither and a giver. There is no such thing in the Kingdom of God as a secret, private gratefulness, requiring no outward activity and commitment.
So, which of these two groups would you prefer to be identified with? Are you most like the nine self-centered and unthankful men, or the man who filled with gratefulness, not only received his cleansing but was made completely whole, too?