Leaping for Joy

Last week, our devotion from Luke’s Gospel urged us to “pass the mustard” as the faith and gifts we’ve been given add seasoning to our lives and the lives of those we encounter. This week we are are looking at another story (also from Luke, 17: 11-19. Here Jesus heals ten people who are considered outcasts or losers by society because of their illness. In the story, only one of the ten stopped to say thank you and we are left to wonder about the other nine. They were healed as well, so were they in shock, disbelief, so shaken by their miraculous new selves that they ran away?

Jesus also wonders about them and in response to the only one who stopped to say thanks, Jesus tells him to go on his way that his faith had made him well. Faith… faith that helps make you well, now that must be some kind of mustard! Well the story got me wondering… how many people do I know who fit this category, consider themselves losers, or who don’t fit what society considers normal or successful? And given the challenges of everyday life… how can I be more like Jesus and bring healing in some way? How can I add seasoning and encourage mustard like faith in others?

In wrestling with these questions, I though about Danny who is feeling a bit like an outcast or loser by society standards this week. And while he doesn’t have a horrible illness or life threatening disease, he is feeling depressed and far removed from where his friends are at. A place so bad that he told me he just wishes he could be fixed and returned to a “normal” life. Danny lost his job two months ago and even though he qualified for unemployment, with bills and a car that crapped out last month, he had a decision to either admit “defeat” and crash with friends or “be a loser” and go back to his parents house (his terms).

Well Danny’s mom and dad have provided a place to crash, and by his own admission have not hassled him about his circumstances. But he is feeling depressed and having a hard time even hanging out with friends because of everything that’s happened. I asked about where God might be in the middle of this transition and the pain and/or embarrassment about returning to his parent’s house. Danny thought about it for a while and said he guessed it was in the home cooked meals his mom and dad were providing access to a car while his was out of commission.

I don’t think Danny is alone in his circumstances, or how he feels. I asked him if he’s said thanks to his parents or God for the things that have been given and done for him. His response was that he wanted everything fixed, back the way it was before and that in his bitterness and feeling “like a loser” hadn’t thought there was anything to be thankful for. He paused, cracked a small smile, nodded and whispered thanks. I sensed a glimmer of faith there, perhaps as small as a mustard seed, but after my conversation with him, wondered if there were nine more Danny’s out there…

I share this because we all have burdens and pain in our lives and we’ve all been given a bit of faith, a gift we don’t fully understand or do anything to get/earn. This week I encourage you to keep on “passing the mustard” by being on the look-out for those that might like Danny, need you to add some seasoning and walk with them along the way.

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