When our Lord was passing through a village one day, He was met by ten lepers who were standing at a distance. When He heard them begging for mercy, He said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” (Luke 17.14) As they were on their way to the priests, they discovered they had been healed by Christ. One of the men, a foreigner, immediately turned back to Christ and worshipped and glorified Him. The others continued on their way, causing Christ to ask, “Where are the nine?” (Luke 17.17) Based upon the Gospel we know this one man, a foreigner, who chose to return to Christ and worship and glorify Him, was healed. We do not know what happened to the other nine.
In the Gospel story, we hear Christ sending the ten lepers to the priests. This was in obedience to the Law (Leviticus 14) which says, “If the leprosy is healed in the leper, then the priest shall command to take for him who is be cleansed two living and clean birds, cedar wood, and hyssop.” (Leviticus 14.4) These were the supplies needed for the offering in the Temple to give thanks to God for the healing. Once the offering had been completed, then the priest shall declare the man clean and he can return to normal life. The Law gave the man a way not only to be healed by God, but a way to express his thanks.
We all have something for which we have begged for God to help. It may have been sickness like this morning’s Gospel. It may have been a suffering relationship. It may have been about a job. We all have something that we have brought to God in our prayers, and even in our St Nicholas Cathedral. We also each have something for which we should thank God, but how do we express our gratitude to God? According to the Gospel we give thanks to God in His Church with offerings, but we no longer bring birds and cedar and hyssop. We bring our Stewardship.
In the next several days, you will be receiving a letter from me along with a Stewardship Commitment Card for 2021. I encourage you to consider this morning’s Gospel story and use your 2021 Stewardship Commitment to express your gratitude to God. Stewardship is not about having your name on a list, or getting member pricing at events. It is about understanding how much God has blessed us, and giving thanks. In the Gospel story, only one returned to say thanks, and God asked, “Where are the nine?”
When it comes to your 2021 Stewardship, be the one who expresses thanks to God, and God will say to, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17.19)