Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
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.
Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
- Luke 17:11-19
“Those who know Christ most are the most grateful. I recently read a story about a woman who for years was married to a harsh husband. Each day he would leave her a list of chores to complete before he returned at the end of the day. ‘Clean the yard. Stack the firewood. Wash the windows. …’
“If she did not complete the tasks, she was greeted with his explosive anger. But even if she did complete the list, he was never satisfied; he would always find inadequacies in her work.
“After several years the husband passed away. Some time later she remarried, this time to a man who lavished her with tenderness and adoration.
“One day, while going through a box of old papers, the wife discovered one of her first husband’s lists. And as she read the sheet, a realization caused a tear of joy to spill onto the paper.
“’I’m still doing all these things, and no one has to tell me. I do it because I love him.’
“That is the unique characteristic of the new kingdom. Its subjects don’t work in order to go to heaven; they work because they are going to heaven. Arrogance and fear are replaced with gratitude and joy.”
- Max Lucado, The Greatest Moments
Of course, from the first husband’s point of view, he trained the wife properly so that she would be an acceptable wife for the second husband. Then again, at that point in the story, his view was of the wrong side of the grass. I heard that old joke yesterday from a dear friend. I hear it from my sister every time I call her. “How are you doing?” Reply: “Seeing the grass from the green side.” Or “Seeing the grass from the side that needs mowing.”
I think every young couple has the problem that Lucado mentions, but maybe not to this extreme. With the blurred gender role lines of the modern family, it is even harder to understand who does those chores, especially if you had a mother who did them when you were growing up. In most households today, both parents work. Both are tired when they get home. And sadly, neither seem to want to do those things. It’s a blessing when one partner wants to cook and the other can at least boil water.
The women’s liberation movement was yet another product of the 60s, along with the Vietnam War protests and civil rights. Protests and riots seemed to be a daily thing, for one of those things or another. Like with the birth pains of political correctness, the women’s lib movement seemed to have a good cause. I am all for women not be excluded from any job that they can handle. They should never be discouraged from entering the field. I am all for equal pay for equal work. Yet, fifty years later and women still make less than men for the same job if the salary structure is not widely advertised. Movie actresses (I am not PC, and saying ‘female movie actors’ sounds stupid.) complain that they make many million fewer than their male counterparts. Of course, who is the biggest box office draw accounts for more of a wage scale consideration than does equal work. You give management an excuse, and they’ll cut anyone’s pay, male or female.
But one thing that I have noticed in the younger generation, many women get home and prop their feet up, refusing to do any housework at all. They feel that if they did, they would succumb to their grandparent’s paradigm of gender specific household work duties. They would be stereotyped. The old stereotype is as follows. The male does the yard work and takes out the garbage. The female does the housework. No one washes the windows. The windows seem to be the dividing line. Is it ‘house’ or is it ‘yard?’ Inquiring minds want to know.
I’m not saying to not do housework at all. At some point, the windows will get so bad that glass cleaner and a clean cloth are not enough, and chisels are needed. Not that I have any experience at that… Allegedly. My recent experience with one eye being fixed (cataract removed – the other in two weeks), I wonder that if I washed the windows thoroughly, maybe the electric bill will be reduced with more natural light coming in. With one less cataract, my eye sees things brighter. Just thinking that the same thing might help the windows…
But did the woman in Lucado’s story do the work out of gratitude? There are a variety of reasons why the work was done in a different spirit. A sign of love is possibly the first reason. The Joy that Lucado mentioned would be far up the list. Too much housework is set aside these days due to depression. I don’t know if this is a chemical imbalance in the brain or are people so jaded that they think Mommy should continue doing that stuff for them from beyond the grave. Really, I see gratitude as a secondary reason for doing the work. Maybe the work should be secondary in our relationship with Jesus, to carry Lucado’s analogy to the ultimate conclusion.
We have Joy. With Joy comes an increase in energy. An expert on body enzymes could explain it, but I think that holds true. With that extra energy, we feel like doing things for Jesus. We even feel unfulfilled if we don’t do something. It’s like the energy must be spent in one way or another, and a constructive way makes the most sense. That’s just the body chemistry analogy, but in the spiritual realm, it may work similarly.
In the Scripture, only one leper returned to thank Jesus. Jesus said that his faith had healed him. But what of the other nine? Did they not have faith? Were they healed without faith being involved in the healing at all? The key to the story is that the other nine are not material to the story. The story is about the one who returned in faith to worship the Son of God.
Only part of our worship response to Jesus is gratitude, and the other parts cannot be easily separated from it. We could say that gratitude is a natural response of Love. Is that not where Lucado started in the quote above? Those that know Jesus best, and with that love Jesus more, are more grateful.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.