Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Those Ungrateful Trick or Treaters!

As I was riding in to work this morning there was a story on the radio about a woman who was not happy with kids from other neighborhoods coming into her affluent neighborhood looking for free candy. As the radio audience called in and lambasted her I began to think about how I felt that same way too. I live in a neighborhood that gets a lot of "those people" coming in looking for free candy. "Those people" might look different from me, they might speak a different language or they might even live in a home that has wheels attached to it. How dare they come into my neighborhood looking for a free handout and to top it off when they leave they don't even say Thank You. 

As I thought about this the Holy Spirit reminded me that spiritually speaking I am the kid who is in a neighborhood I don't belong in, I am the kid who gets the greatest free gift anyone could ever get and I am the kid who time after time forgets to say Thank You. There is a vivid picture of this in the Bible.

Luke 17: 11-19 - 11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” 
14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. 
15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

None of these guys deserved to be healed, none of them should have gotten anything from Christ. Yet because of his mercy and grace he healed them. He did for them what they could not do for themselves. And how did they respond when they received this incredible gift, they simply walked away. All except for the one. Were they all thankful? Were the nine just so excited in their being healed that they simply forgot to turn around and say thanks? I certainly hope so. Before you jump in and say I would be the one who came back, I would be the one who threw himself at Christ's feet, ask yourself how often do you do that now. How often do you thank God daily for the Gospel, how many times are you quick to pass judgment as opposed to showing mercy. How often do you curse the driver who cut you off in traffic, how often do you criticize the coach who won't let your kid play in the game. How often do you drive by the homeless guy and think "get a job". How many times have you been behind the person who is paying for their groceries with a food stamp card and your blood begins to boil.

The Gospel is so amazing because in spite of our being the crusty old neighbor who does not want "those kids" coming around God still loves us, He still pursues us, He still sent Christ to the cross, He still lavished His love on us knowing full well that we would not truly get it, that most likely we would not turn around and say thanks. That is what makes the Gospel so amazing.

Maybe this Halloween as "those kids" show up at your door you will remember the amazing love that God has shown you (and me) and thank God for what He has done for you every time the door bell rings. Trick or Treat!

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