One in Ten
"Then one of them...fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks."—Luke 17:15,16
Years ago Carolyn and I were chatting with a young man about something or other—I've forgotten the content of the conversation—when he made a comment I’ll never forget. Apropos of something Carolyn said, he scoffed and announced, "I don't write little thank-you notes." It was, I thought, a good summation of the ethos of his generation.
I am learning not to expect too much from folks these days, especially young folks. It’s possible to pour a good deal of energy, expense and time into them and receive no gratitude for our efforts.
There are a few folks in the world who are truly thankful and we’ll get to hear from them from time to time, but if The Tale of the Ten Lepers means anything at all it suggests that only a few—one out of ten by Jesus' estimate—will thank us. The others will be silent at best. Some will be outraged that we did not meet other needs to which they felt entitled.
Here's the thing: We should never expect to gain from others what God alone can give. Our task is to give and leave the consequences to Him. Jesus said, "Give and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you" (Luke 6:38).
I'm not sure that I know what it means to be compensated in "good measure"; perhaps it's that wonderful sense of well-being that comes from doing what God has asked us to do. But I do know that someday His “well-done” will echo throughout the universe, and that's the only gratitude that matters in the end.
C. S Lewis, stating the obvious, points out that there’s really only one person in the universe I can do very much about—myself. While I cannot change others I can, by God’s grace, begin to change myself. I can become a more grateful man.