Thursday, October 4, 2012

Where Are the People I Helped?

Luke 17:17
Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?”

One of the first things that was ingrained in me as a child was to say, “thank you” after somebody did something good for you. I was taught never to bite the hand that feeds you. It amazes me how today, when you help people, many times they don’t even come back to say “thank you”. Of course you don’t help people just so they are obligated to you for the rest of your life but when you do something good for somebody, bless their life, make them better, help them be healed it would be nice if they would just come back to acknowledge that what you did for them actually helped.

Over the last 11 years, over 13,000 people have walked across the stage at New Direction Christian Church to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. As a Pastor, sometimes it is discouraging to look out and see those faces missing. It makes Jesus’ question so painfully poignant, “Where are the other nine? Where are the people I helped?” Maybe you’re not a pastor but you can identify with the fact that you have helped a lot of people in your lifetime and when you look around you there are not very many of those people left in your life. It hits you every now and then where is that person I loaned that money to? Where is that relative that I kept their kids while they worked? Where is the person I let drive my car when they didn’t have one? Where are the people I helped?

On one occasion Jesus was met by ten lepers who asked him, “Lord have pity on us!” In other words, they asked, Can you help us? Can you do something? Can you give me some emergency assistance? Will you heal us? Can you give us some hope?

Jesus replied by saying, “Go show yourself to the priests.” This took some faith on their part because he was sending them back to the people who put them out because of their condition. Lepers could not go to the temple or stay in the proximity of people. Jesus sends them back sick but on their way back they were healed. Some people you blessed left you and did better after they were out of your view but never came back.
One Leper realized that he had been healed stopped in his tracks and begin praising God in a loud voice. He was a Samaritan. He wasn’t a Jewish believer but he starting worshipping God and came back to fall on his knees in front of Jesus to tell him “Thank you.” Jesus asked, “17 Jesus asked, “Were there not ten men who were healed? Where are the other nine? 18 Is this stranger from another country the only one who turned back to give thanks to God?”

I have nine theories for why some people don’t come back after being helped:
  1. They didn’t realize Jesus had anything to do with it since it happened on the way back. Some people are blessed by your ministry but don’t realize Jesus did it through you until they get back to Temple.
  2. They ran back to men but away from Jesus. The sad part about people being blessed or helped in church and not coming back is not that they leave the pastor but they walk away from Jesus. It’s disheartening when people leave a Jesus experience to run back to tradition.
  3. They didn’t want a relationship they just wanted what they needed. It’s sad but true, some people just want your resources not a relationship.
  4. They didn’t give credit to God for their miracle. Sometimes, when people get back on their feet they discount God’s involvement.
  5. They thought Jesus was obligated to bless them. We expect Jesus to keep handing out blessings without coming back to love on him.
  6. They took his Grace for granted. Grace is unmerited favor but the cost for it is our appreciation.
  7. They were too busy trying to get back to what they left. Sometimes, the vortex of what we used to do sucks us back to old ways before we can acknowledge the new thing that Jesus has done for us.
  8. They didn’t think worship was necessary. After God gives us what we need Sunday morning becomes an option instead of a lifestyle.
  9. Life was too good to come back to worship. They were no longer outcasts; they were able to integrate back to normal life. Life was so good now they didn’t feel a need to come back to Jesus.

Dear God,

I can’t forget to thank you every day for all you’ve done for me. Don’t let me forget to come back to say thank you for all you’ve done for me. Every chance I get, I want to come to worship just to thank you for blessing me. Today, I will search out someone today, a pastor, a teacher, a parent, a relative, a friend that helped me when I needed help just to say thank you. Most of all I just want to say, Thank you Jesus!


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