The story of the healing of the ten lepers teaches us the importance of giving thanks to God for all our blessings. All ten lepers were healed of a terrible disease that can best be described as a living death. Only one returned to Jesus to give thanks. Because he gave thanks and acknowledged Jesus as his Saviour he received the double blessings of forgiveness and eternal spiritual life. The Deuteronomy (8.7-20) and the 2nd. Corinthians (9.6-15) Readings assigned, help us understand how giving thanks to God keeps us in our Baptismal Covenant relationship and multiplies blessings in our daily lives.
1. In Deuteronomy Moses is warning the Hebrews about forgetting God
The setting is in the wilderness, after Moses received then destroyed the first tablets with the Ten Commandments. He had returned and found the people had forgotten God and were worshiping a golden calf. Before he goes back up the mountain to renew the Covenant with God and write two new tablets.
· Moses warns them that when they enter the Promised Land and prosper they will begin to forget God again and think they have prospered only by the work of their own hands
- Warns that they will forget their part of the Covenant – to love and honour God by obedience and giving thanks
- Will gradually break the Covenant and loose God’s blessing and spiritual protection
- This happened and led to military invasion, conquest, the destruction of the Temple and the Babylonian Captivity
- This kind of spiritual and physical disaster can happen to individuals who fail to keep their Baptismal Covenant
- Personal Spirit, part that connects us to God in prayer and praise withers and dies – people can die spiritually and loose inheritance
- Giving thanks to God nourishes and grows our spiritual life
2. Apostle Paul reminds us of the Law of Sowing and Reaping
What we know about farming in the physical world helps us understand what goes on in the invisible spiritual world. Every day we do things or fail to do things – like giving thanks; that in effect are like sowing invisible seeds that grow and lead to consequences:
- If you sow much you reap much – and if you sow little you reap little
- You reap what you sow – obvious but we often forget about this
- Sowing anger, bitterness, jealousy, criticism à anger, bitterness...
- Sowing love, joy and peace à Reaping love joy and peace
- Sowing thanksgiving à Reaping the double blessings of thanksgiving
3. Giving thanks leads to a double blessing
We notices how the leper who returned to give thanks received the multiple blessing of knowing Jesus as Saviour and eternal spiritual life. In the Reading Paul explain how this works in daily life:
- Thanking God keeps us in our Baptismal Covenant blessings of right relationship with God and eternal spiritual life
- Thanking God by giving to the poor à Poor thank God à God blesses us even more
- Giving to poor à Poor thank us, which blesses us again
- Giving to the poor à Poor thank God for us à God blesses us
Giving thanks is more than a sign of good manners
· Acknowledges the gift
· Maintains and strengthens the relationship
· Multiplies the blessings
Since this is my second last teaching, let me thank you all for the opportunity to come here, to get to know you and to learn how to depend on the Holy Spirit for practical guidance in helping you develop your individual ministries in this place.