Life in the 1970s in a small Texas town was tough. There was a significant disparity between the financially wealthy and the rest of us. Poverty transcended all barriers; there were only two classes of people, the rich and the poor.
But, we also belonged to a church family who looked out for each other. Most of us had very little, yet, we were happy. Our faith in God was strong. We prayed continuously and were confident that God would answer. Our joy was evident because we always knew that God would give us our essential needs (Matthew 6). In addition, every Sabbath after lunch, we passed out literature in our assigned areas. Yes, those times are precious memories.
We had great faith as we prayed, prepared, and looked forward to Jesus coming again.
Fast forward to the 21st century, and many believers are feeling anxious, worried, overwhelmed, depressed, and hopeless. What brought about the change?
As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. Luke 17:12-13. The men with leprosy heard of the great Messiah who healed those with many illnesses and raised the dead. When they saw Jesus, all ten men used their loud voices to ask Him for mercy.
Jesus commanded them to go and show themselves to the priest, which took unwavering faith. Remember that lepers were outcasts and not allowed to mix with other people. All ten obeyed Jesus’ command to, “Go.” Because of their faith and obedience, they received healing from the dreadful disease that excluded them from society.
One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God he fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Luke 17:15-16. Jesus healed ten lepers, yet only one returned to say, “Thank you.”
In this story, the desire to receive healing was reflected by their desperation. But even more importantly, they recognized Jesus and ten men loudly asked Him for mercy. When Jesus told them to go to the priests, they didn’t say, “Jesus, we are not allowed to go into the city, nor can we go into the synagogue.” The lepers faithfully obeyed Jesus’ command, and received healing. But only one of the ten had a grateful heart. And it is gratitude that caused him to turn around to thank Jesus.
Why was the man’s ethnicity of being a Samaritan emphasized? Because the Jews had no interactions with the unbelieving and unrighteous Samaritans. Even so, he did not care about society’s restrictions. The healed man took another giant leap of faith and went back to Jesus to say, “Thank you.”
Most believers of today acknowledge the deity of God, our Creator. Yet, we are so distracted by our circumstances that our faith is almost nonexistent. “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27.
Our outlook is bleak when we enter the season of darkness [hardships, trials, and sorrows], nor do we focus on the fact that God always keeps His promises.
What happens when we accumulate wealth? Due to financial prosperity, we begin to forget where the prosperity comes from. We take our eyes off Him and start looking at our wealth. We begin to worship the tangible things instead of the Creator. Alexis, contributor
And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
We have adapted and conformed to the “self-help” mindset of the world. As we try to figure out the solutions, we are desperate, but our desperation is not for Jesus.
The busyness of our lifestyles has prevented us from having an up-close and personal relationship with God. Simply put, we do not have time to put God first.
Although our faults are many, we can change our current way of thinking, acting, and living. Jesus paid a high price for us. He kept his promise to die for our sins. And now Jesus is still serving us by being our Heavenly Intercessor, presenting us as faultless before God when we confess and repent of our sins.
Always put God first! When we possess a spirit of gratitude, we recognize every blessing, great or small, and we readily thank God for His never-ending grace and mercies.
This is our blessed hope: Jesus promises us that He is coming again!
12 “Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! Revelation 22:12-13, 20
Bible Study: Matthew 6, and Revelation 22
God, we are so caught up in life’s circumstances that we have lost our faith, hope, and total belief in you. We ask forgiveness for focusing on ourselves. We acknowledge that without your love, grace, and mercy, we would be hopeless. Please give us the strength to change and to put you first. We ask for a renewal of our commitment as we faithfully serve you and prepare for the Second Coming of your Son, Jesus Christ. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2021, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the author’s written permission.