Why do you run?

Have you ever watched a child run with enthusiasm?  I love watching my children run.  Their little legs get going, and they are completely “in the zone.”  Nothing you can say or do can detract them from their “mission.”

Photo Credit: Chris Roll

But when they fall and scrape a knee, where do they run?  Mom and Dad, of course – the ones they trust to help “fix” it.

I’ve thought a lot about running lately:  What we run from, what we run to, who runs to (or from) us, and why. As Christians, we do a lot of running, too.

Like a child with a skinned knee, sometimes we run to God out of our brokenness – knowing the mess we’ve become (or created) can only be fixed by his healing love.  Occasionally, our run is motivated by gratitude.

This was the case of the ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19).

While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee.  As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; and they raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” (verses 11-13)

Societal outcasts by law, the lepers couldn’t come close to Jesus, but did everything in their power to gain his attention: they yelled!  What fascinates me is, although they must have heard about Jesus’ reputation as a healer, they did not ask for healing – they simply asked for mercy.

When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they were going, they were cleansed.   Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. (verses 14-16)

I can’t help but think that the man who turned back to give thanks, RAN all the way with unbridled enthusiasm and excitement.  He was on a “mission” and could not be detracted. How could he not run when, when his decaying flesh had been made whole?

It may have been the single biggest moment in his entire life — certainly, it changed everything.  

Then Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine–where are they?   “Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?” (verse 18)

Jesus didn’t ask any of the lepers to come back and give glory to God.  But he did expect it.  How it must have disappointed his heart when nine did not return after such a life-altering transformation! No longer were they covered from head to toe with disfiguring sores.  No longer did they smell like death.  No longer would they be cast out of the city limits, begging for food, unable to work, unapproachable by others, and estranged from their families.

Only the  Samaritan returned, and fell at the feet of his Master, Jesus Christ, in humble submission and thanksgiving.

This weekend, we observed Easter. And while we celebrated Christ’s victory over death, it strikes me that like these men, we are spiritual lepers.  In our sin we are impure and wreak of death, but we also can approach the great physician, asking for mercy – and find forgiveness and healing.

It troubles me, however that while this passage clearly implies God expects our gratitude…only a fraction (perhaps one in ten?) of us return with thanksgiving.

Conversely, the Samaritan worshiped at his Master’s feet.  His face smeared with dirt and tears of thanks, he clearly understood the gift’s significance – and it’s source.  His attitude of humble submission brought further blessing.  Not only had he been healed on the outside, but internally as well.

And He said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.” (verse 19, emphasis added)

When my children seek a remedy for an injury, (at least) nine times out of ten, they don’t say “thanks” after I’ve bandaged them up.  The favor is simply forgotten in the busyness of the day as they run back out to play.  We must be quick to return our praise and thanksgiving lest we become like the nine who were too self-involved to say “thanks.”

Let’s pray:

Oh, Sovereign Lord!  When I think of how much you’ve given me – and how little I’ve returned  – I realize I’m often like the ungrateful nine in this story.  I want to be more like the Samaritan – the one who couldn’t move forward with life without first returning to the one who made him whole.  Like this man, I want to be loud in my thanksgiving and gratitude and let others know what you’ve done for me! Forgive me for my spirit of ingratitude. Amen.

Taking it deeper: 

What tender mercies of God have you experienced in your own life?  How can you give God thanks and glory today?  Would you share your story with someone else (perhaps in the comments below)?  Your story may be exactly what they need to year today?  

We are wise to practice a lifestyle of gratitude.  How can you show someone else your gratitude and gratefulness for something special they’ve done for you?   

I’ve linked this post up with Beholding Glory.

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Filed under Good Friday and Easter, Gratitude, Thankfulness

15 responses to “Why do you run?

  1. I love this account and I want to be the thankful leper!! I start each day by counting my blessings, even before I get out of bed:
    I HAVE a bed
    There’s food in the kitchen
    I can go wherever I need to go today
    I’m in good health
    I have friends and family (and a cute dog!)

    And that’s not including the spiritual blessings: I’m forgiven, redeemed, graced, beloved… I have hope, joy, peace, an eternal inheritance…

    Like the Energizer Bunny, I could keep going and going and going! Thanks, Jeannette — great thought for a Monday morning!

    • jeannetteduwe

      So true, Susan! I love your list – and know that’s only a sample of the many things you are thankful for!!

      Righteousness grows out of a spirit of thankfulness to be sure! When we continually practice in the little things how much more will our joy overflow in the big things!! I started a thankfulness journal last year and need to get back to that. Before I did anything else each morning, I would write at least a half page of things I was thankful for – all the way from toothpaste to my home and health. It’s amazing how being intentional about thanks and praise can transform your day – and your thinking!!

      Have a blessed and thanks-filled day. :-)

  2. margie

    I am thankful for God’s willingness and desire to be with us always!

  3. Carina DeWitt

    Thanks Jeannette. Lots of food for thought here… as always.

  4. I say a hearty Amen to this post and to your prayer. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I am learning to give thanks and it is changing my life! Thanks so much for this post.

    • jeannetteduwe

      Hello Barbara! I love that! A thankful heart is truly transformational!! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment today.

  6. Very good analogy. I try hard to be thankful for all God has blessed me with, but I’m sure it’s not enough in comparison to his mercies! Thanks for the reminder. (I found your blog through Beholding Glory blog linkup.)

    • jeannetteduwe

      Hi Laura,
      We all have so much to be thankful for, and in our fast-paced American society, it sure is hard to forget just how richly he has blessed us!
      Thanks for visiting from the Beholding Glory blog link up. Have a blessed weekend,

  7. Kari

    I am thankful we are friends and neighbors.

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