DATE: June 20, 2019
TEXT: Luke 17:17-19 – ESV - Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well
Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! Outside my back door is a bird feeder. Holding about ten-pounds of seed, this is a large, well-stocked bird feeder. Understand, it is not a squirrel feeder nor is it a raccoon feeder. In truth, I do not like footing the feed bill for the multitudes of ravenous squirrels who hang around; nor do I relish being the host for the cute-as-can-be raccoons who have been responsible for destroying most of my other bird feeders.
Which is why this bird feeder outside my back door is equipped to give those unwelcomed and unwanted trespassers a small electric shock. Understand, this shock isn’t strong enough to paralyze or permanently hurt or harm, maim or murder. It’s got just enough of a tingle to make the furry interlopers feel it’s not in their best interest to stay.
At any rate, outside my back door is a bird feeder. In the last two years I have made sure this feeder is always well stocked and has never gone dry. In truth, my feeder has provided a smorgasbord of seed, a never emptied treasure trove of tasty treats for the cardinals, finches, sparrows, woodpeckers, nuthatches and other winged friends who regularly, almost religiously, help themselves to the unearned bounty which I have provided for them.
Now, you might think that, every once-in-a-while one or two of those feathered freeloaders might feel some kind of obligation to stop their feeding for just a second and say, “Hey, Reverend, thanks a lot for what you’re doing here. We just want to let you know your efforts have not gone unnoticed or unappreciated.” A person might think that would happen, but it hasn’t.
Not once, not once in these years have any of those birds said a word of gratitude. They haven’t come to my window and tapped out a word of thanks in Morse Code. In the Disney cartoons birds are friendly little beasties who are not above doing the dishes or cleaning the cottage or helping with housework. So far that hasn’t happened to me.
I’m not above telling you this scarcity of appreciation, this shortage of thanksgiving wears pretty thin. I wonder, ‘What do I have to do to prove myself? What? Will these birds ever get it; will they ever figure out I’m there to feed them; to help them; to care for them? What do I have to do to get through to them?’
Quite probably those are the same questions which God has been asking about unappreciative, ungrateful, unthankful humanity.
The truth is we should be better than my birds, squirrels and raccoons,
We have seen our sin-blackened souls and we know the punishment which awaits. Knowing that God’s Son, our Savior, has run interference for us, carried our sins to the cross and died our death, we should be more than thankful. We should be eternally indebted to Him Whose life was given to save our souls.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, the Psalms say, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.” In our Savior we have seen that steadfast love. Now, may our thanks be similarly steadfast. In His Name I pray. Amen.