Monday, September 3, 2012

Are my cries for gratitude as loud as my cries for mercy?

This was the title of Pastor Rich's message Wednesday night and it hit me hard. I'm writing because this message impacted me and I don’t want to forget. I don’t want it to be like so many messages that I have gotten excited about in the moment but hardly remember the main points the very next day. I want to be intentional about remembering these truths. They must be remembered. 

This message reminded me of the refrain from one of my favorite Psalms, Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! What I hear when I read this psalm is a man pleading with God's people to acknowledge the Lord's grace and mercy in their lives, knowing that this will keep them focused on Him and away from sin.

Pastor Rich taught from Luke 17:10-17. This is a passage where Jesus heals ten lepers and only one comes back to thank Him. As Pastor Rich launched into his message I kept thinking, this is pretty simple, right? Just make sure you say thank you whenever God blesses you and you’re pretty much covered. Not hard to do. As always, Pastor Rich unpacked this passage for me in a way that made it come to life in a powerful and practical way.

First, these were LEPERS who were healed. This is huge. Unclean, unclean, don't come any closer. This could be described as the extent of a lepers public discourse in Biblical time. Lepers were out cast from society and were essential considered dead. There was no moral obligation to care for lepers. The day that someone was declared leprous was the last day of their life. 

Wow! What a hopeless situation. To be cut off from family, friends and society in general. Utterly isolated and alone and having only a slow and painful death to look forward to. 

Pastor Rich compared this to our situation as unbelievers in need of a savior. Before we were redeemed we were in just this state. There was no hope for us. Life had no true meaning or purpose and we were slowly dying alone. This is what we were rescued out of and this is what we have to be thankful for. 

My Saviors continues to give me mercy; but how often do I respond in heart felt gratitude? How often does my response match the intensity of what I have been saved from? The thankful leper understood what Christ had done for him. He knew his impossible state and understood the miracle of his redemption. He responded out of that understanding.

Maybe this is my problem. I don’t understand what Christ has saved me from. I know I minimize my sin all the time. I know I’m not always willing to look at the damage my sin has caused. I often twist reality to make my depravity look “not so bad”. But I want to see more clearly. I want to understand the truth of my situation and respond correctly in light of what He has done for me.

Thank you Pastor Rich for such a great reminder of God mercy in my life. Thank you for continuing to challenge me in my walk through your faithful teaching.

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