The Gospel of Luke, the 17th chapter, verses 11 through 19, tells the story of Jesus healing ten lepers. Only one of the ten returned with an expression of thanksgiving.  This poem suggests what might have been thought by one of the other nine.  It just may help us to have right thoughts in this Thanksgiving Season.

“I Meant to Go Back, I meant to go back, but you may guess, I was filled with amazement I cannot express. To think that after those horrible years, that passion of loathing and passion of fears, by sores unendurable, eaten, defiled, my flesh was as smooth as the flesh of a child.  I was drunken with joy, I was crazy with glee, I could scarcely walk and scarcely could see.  For the dazzle of sunshine where all had been black.  But, I meant to go back. Oh, I meant to go back.  I had thought to return when my people came out.  There were tears of rejoicing and laughter and shout.  They embraced me, for years I had not known a kiss; ah, the pressure of lip is an exquisite bliss. They crowded around me, they filled the whole place. They looked at my feet and my hands and my face. My children were there and my glorious wife and all the forgotten allurements of life.  My cup was so full I seemed nothing to lack.    But, I meant to go back.  Oh, I meant to go back.”               Author Unknown

Here is a story that tugs at our hearts, but with a great deal of uncomfortableness.  If we are sensitive in the least, we can feel the heartache of Jesus in this situation.  What disappointment rings in the words and voice of Jesus as He says, Were not all ten cleansed?  Where are the other nine?  Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?   Luke 17: 17

Let’s pursue the question of Jesus, Where are the nine?  It does not say in scripture as to where they were.   That is not important. What matters is, where they were not.  Why weren’t they at the feet of Jesus?  Nine out of ten didn’t so much as return to thank Jesus.  What a tragic situation.  What a lack of gratitude on the part of man then and now.

There is no excuse for a lack of respect, courtesy, thankfulness.  How it must hurt and disappoint Jesus today, when those to whom He has given so much do not honor Him with thanksgiving and praise. It is sinful to be lacking in gratitude to God. Have you counted your blessings recently?  Count them, name them, one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.  Physical and material blessings abound for most of us.  But, those are not the primary blessings from God.  His infinite kindness is shown in His love for us, by sending His Son to save us.  Faith, hope, love, forgiveness of sins, peace of mind, member of God’s family, an eternal Home to come. These are the real blessings that matter regardless of how rich we are materially or how healthy we are physically.  We need to acknowledge that the real source of our blessings is God: He gave life, He sustains life, and He saves life.  Give Him thanks.

Gratitude is humanity’s minimum response to divine grace.  True thanksgiving is thanks living.

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