A Prescription for Drawing Closer To God

Daily Reflection – 11/15/2023

Sacred Scripture

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.” (Luke 17:11-19)


Our scripture today can be discussed on so many levels. Its essence is, of course, the gratitude of the Samaritan leper who was cured — especially in contrast to the other lepers who never paused to thank the Lord for their healing.

It’s unfortunate they did not stop to express their thanks and, by not doing so, they were only partially healed. Physically, yes but not in spirit. By walking away, they lost because they did not experience the transformative power of gratitude.

In that is a life lesson for all of us.

At an early age, we are taught to say, “thank you.” As we grow older, we use the words more frequently. Often, however, the words are spoken and yet not felt. The words, at times, roll off our lips but lack a home in our heart.

Here is where the transformative power of gratitude comes into play because gratitude is the homage of the heart which responds with graciousness in expressing an act of thanksgiving.
We become a person who thanks God always and everywhere — and learns how to thank others too — through prayer. The majority of our time in prayer should be in praise and thanksgiving if we’re ever going to be able to thank God always and everywhere. That’s a habit we need to form, in which we count our blessings and thank God for each of them. The more we do so, the more we see these blessings, and the more we acquire that attitude of gratitude, the fuller we become as a Christian.

When we give thanks, we are no longer passive recipients; we become active givers, giving back to the One who has blessed us. When we become active givers, God places us on another level another level capable of receiving even more from him. By giving thanks for what he had received, the leper was capable of receiving more from God. Indeed, he did receive more, he was saved. Saved by God’s mercy, he was now capable of receiving still more, of growing in intimacy with God.

Growing in intimacy with God. That’s not a description for saints. It is a prescription for us.

Our time on earth is a journey. From birth to death. From infancy to old age. From joy to sadness. From a child with simple needs to an adult with complex layers. It’s also a journey to our spiritual home.

That journey takes several paths. Some are easy walks. Some are joyful sprints of exuberance. Some are difficult and painful. Some are marked by days of sunshine and gentle breezes. Others are dark and gloomy days with rain and tears.

But you and I can transform each of those days into a time of growth and wisdom. The map of life should and must be built on a personal objective of growing in intimacy with God. How do we achieve that? How do we even know that we are growing?

It begins with gratitude. It begins by saying thank you. Saying thank you to the Father who created us. Nothing brought that home to be more than the seven years of ministry I spent among the people of Panama. There I learned people who understood that all blessings come from God. One Saturday, I was in one of the more remote villages. As we walked door to door, I met an older man who had no home. He had a tarp strung between two banana trees. When I asked if there was anything he needed.  He looked at me and said “The trees bring me shelter, I have food to eat and, most of all, a God who loves me. Every day, I say Gracias a Dios.”

There it was. A profound expression of daily love and gratitude. He was filled by and with God. Every day reminded him of how blessed he was. His gratitude knew no bounds. He had developed an intimacy with God which filled his life and marked each step.

It was one of the most powerful lessons I have learned in more than four decades of ministry. I will never cease striving to know that intimacy. Thank you, Father.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, Fill my heart with compassion and thanksgiving, and free me from ingratitude and discontentment. Help me to count my blessings with a grateful heart and to give thanks in all circumstances”.

Daily Note

“Lord Jesus, Fill my heart with compassion and thanksgiving, and free me from ingratitude and discontentment. Help me to count my blessings with a grateful heart and to give thanks in all circumstances”.

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