Anthony B. Robinson
"He fell down at Jesus' feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, 'Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they?'" - Luke 17:16-17
Forty years ago a super popular book was titled, "I'm O.K., You're O.K." It seemed to catch the spirit of the times.
If someone were to write the book that catches the spirit of these times, what might its title be? At least some days I suspect it could be, "I'M ENTITLED AND SO ARE YOU (only not quite so much as me)."
The nine people who got helped and healed by Jesus, but somehow forgot to say "thank you"? I'm thinking they figured they had it coming. It was their due. They were, after all, God's people, part of The Chosen. From the right side of the tracks. They grew up in the right neighborhood. Went to the right schools.
Sometimes we get that mindset: we're entitled. We are due a super school, a new car, the very best medical care and a terrific life full of great experiences and travel to exotic places. Why not?
And if that's just what you're entitled to, then saying "thank you," or "praising God" doesn't make a whole lot of sense. It's like a language you never learned to speak.
But one of those healed by Jesus wasn't part of God's chosen, he was an outsider. And I guess it hadn't occurred to him to imagine God owed him. After all, he was a Samaritan. Translation: grew up in the wrong neighborhood, went to the wrong schools, drove a crap car (er, donkey).
So this idiot Samaritan never figured he was entitled, somehow, to the absolutely best medical care. When he got it he was stunned and grateful. So he fell all over himself, and all over Jesus, bubbling with gratitude and praise and generally making a fool of himself.
Then again, maybe it's when you and I think we're entitled to the good life that we are really fools?
Deliver us O Lord from a sense of dull entitlement to the wild grace of a grateful and astonished spirit. Amen.
Anthony B. Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher and writer. His newest book is Called to Lead: Paul's Letters to Timothy for a New Day, and he is also the author of Book of Exodus: A God is still speaking Bible Study. Read his weekly reflections on the current lectionary texts at www.anthonybrobinson.com by clicking on Weekly Reading.