The Top Ten Percent

In Luke 17, Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem. Contrary to most Jewish ministers, he is taking the route less taken. He is passing through Samaria.

As he enters a certain village, he is met by ten lepers. They are in a world of hurt.

They do what they are supposed to do. With propriety, they keep their distance so as not to defile the holy man. However, knowing something of his reputation, they do cry out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” Perhaps through his compassion and power he would relieve them of their dismal plight.

At this point, the text is vague with information. We are not explicitly informed of any ritual, test, or prayer. However, implicitly, we learn they are either healed or in the process of being so graced. Somehow, it is the will of the Father, Son, and Spirit to cure these hopeless fellows of their leprous condition.

Jesus then gives them a command — they are to go and and present themselves to their priests.

  • Physically, they are to be declared clean.
  • Relationally, they are to be reintroduced to society.
  • Doxologically, they are to express their faith in the God of mercy.
  • Evangelistically, they are to answer questions and boast of Jesus.

Obediently, they head towards the place of worship. They endeavor to perform well. They make strides to be duitiful keepers of Jesus’ commands. All ten of these men are to be commended for their faith and faithfulness.

However, one of the ten is not like the others. This Samaritan, in the midst of his obedient practice, freshly realizing his healed condition, turns around. He repents and begins singing vivacious love-songs to the Lord as he makes his way back. And upon his arrival, he falls on his face and expresses his great gratitude.

And how does Jesus respond? Jesus is pleased with this “Samaritan’s” decision. This “foreigner” is worshiping correctly. He is prioritizing internal worship over external obedience. Sure, he will get around to righteous practice. He will not make light of the Father’s ceremonies and Jesus’ will. But first, he must make much of his Lord. He must boast in the presence of his best friend, and in Jesus’ eyes, this “foreign leprous Samaritan” is in the top ten percent.

Therefore friends, on this Thanksgiving Day, let us enjoy being in the top ten percent.

There is not a clean and healthy person reading this devotional post. All of us are sinful. All of us are dying. All of us are on borrowed time. If you do not believe me, just wait. Time will prove me true.

There is not a hopeless individual reading this blog. Jesus has come close. He is in the neighborhood, and he has good ears. And the scriptures tell us he will not turn a deaf-ear to anyone who calls for mercy. All who see their plight, recognize their hopeless impotency, and call out for salvation, they are spiritually healed.

And to all who are spiritually healed, there is a walk to walk. The Father, Son, and Spirit have their commandments, ceremonies, and principles. It is right and wise to know God’s laws and obey. Those who are cleansed ought to endeavor to live the clean life.

However, if this becomes our immediate focus, we are in the bottom 90 percent.

So today, on this Thanksgiving Day, let’s pick up our game a bit. Lets …

  • Forsake the norm.
  • Turn from the ceremonial and pursue the intimate.
  • Repent and seek the place and face of Jesus.
  • Sing loud songs of adoration and thanksgiving.
  • Fall down before him in awe-struck excitement.
  • Express our gratitude for all his grace. (Spiritual, Relational, Physical, Emotional, Financial, National)
  • Hear one more time how much we are loved, forgiven, cleansed, and accepted.

Then, on Sunday, we can get around to the more formal observance of worship also intended by our great Savior.

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