2 Kings 5:14-17
Naaman went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean. Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company; he came and stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel; please accept a present from your servant.” But he said, “As the LORD lives, whom I serve, I will accept nothing!” He urged him to accept, but he refused. Then Naaman said, “If not, please let two mule-loads of earth be given to your servant; for your servant will no longer offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god except the LORD.
O sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done marvelous things.
His right hand and his holy arm
have gotten him victory.
The LORD has made known his victory;
he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the victory of our God.
Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Timothy 2:8-13
Beloved: Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David—that is my gospel, for which I suffer hardship, even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, so that they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. The saying is sure: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.
On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”
There are many things that happen to us in life that we would not choose. We may suffer from an ailment or a disease but if we do, we seek out cures or something to give us relief. No one would ever choose to be a leper or to helplessly suffer an incurable disease but we experience them in this fallen world. God does not will them, but He allows these things to happen. As always, it is because He can bring some good out of it.
Naaman, in the Old Testament reading, and the ten lepers of the gospel, needed divine assistance to be healed of their leprosy. Once the uncleanness of leprosy was removed, they would not only be whole, they would have an entirely new lease on life. They would be able to be restored to the community as well.
The word, ‘mercy’, derives from the French word, ‘merci’ meaning thanks. It can also mean pity or favor. If God has mercy on us, we should be thankful for a favor we cannot provide for ourselves. Gratitude implies relationship with someone. It means we recognize that something has been done that we could not do for ourself. It means that we appreciate goodness.
For those who do not yet know God, gratitude is a sign of a person who is ready to receive Christ because He knows that there is a personal giver.
Gratitude is a hallmark of a Christian person because he has faith in God’s goodness and that God hears and answers his prayer. It is the beginning of worship as the leper who prostrated himself at the feet of Jesus. Gratitude is the immediate response that we have to the overflow of God’s mercy to us. It increases our faith as we begin to see all the ways that God is blessing us, even through the depths of difficult circumstances and trials. We grow in strength and holiness as we seek the Lord and patiently wait for His compassion on us.
Today, spend time in prayer thanking God and praising Him for His blessings. Bless and praise Him even for the difficulties in life, because once they are removed, we could end up taking good health and community for granted, like the nine lepers, forgetting the Lord for all that He has done.