When ten lepers came to Jesus in the desperate hope of being healed, they approached as outcasts, rejects of the world. In many ways, they had no business even approaching Jesus, at least by the standards of the day. They were considered incurable and contagious, and were expected to stand at a distance and shout to anyone nearby that they were unclean. Their personal world had collapsed around them, and only pain and suffering—in many forms, not just physical ones—underscored their existence.
But as the ten lepers came and begged for healing from afar, Jesus had compassion and mercy on them. Luke 17:14 records, “When He saw them, He said, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were cleansed.”
Think about how those ten men who had just been healed must have felt. They were healed! It wasn’t just their bodies that had been restored. Life itself—joy, dreams, relationships with others, hope—had also been redeemed. It must have been an amazing groundswell of emotion!
But there was a problem.
Of the ten recipients of the miracle, only one stopped to think for a moment. “One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 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 17:15-19 NIV).
Only one came back. Only one showed his heartfelt appreciation to God. Only one thanked Jesus from the depths of his heart, and he was from a group of people in the region who were most despised.
This Thanksgiving, may we all—like the Samaritan—come before the Lord and thank Him. Because the reality is that Christ has saved and redeemed us both for this life and for the life to come, and all thanksgiving and honor and praise should go to Him, personally, from each of us.
It seems that with each passing year, the number of heartbreaking and hard to hear headlines just keeps multiplying. The Las Vegas massacre. More school shootings. Catastrophic earthquakes, hurricanes, and wildfires. And the more we hear, the more there is a tendency and temptation to become numbed or calloused or uncaring or, perhaps just as damaging, to take people and relationships and blessings more and more for granted.
But that’s not what we were designed to do.
We were created to love. We were conceived in the mind and heart of God to fellowship with Him and with each other, and to be thankful for everything and everyone that He blesses us with. We were designed to be grateful and to make a difference for good in this world, while having an impact on the world to come.
And when the headlines hit and the heartbreaks come—and they will—we need to hug a little tighter, listen a little closer, speak a little sweeter, and care a little deeper…and keep all that going a little longer than perhaps we have before.
So, this Thanksgiving, may we each become better and better at thanksgiving, starting with God and overflowing to all those in our lives.
Thank you for your love, support, and devotion to the ministry and vision of Christian school education at ALCS. And thank so many of you for your friendship. I believe with all my heart that we’re not just a school you attend, but a family we all belong to. As family, we are all gifts from God to one another to be dearly treasured, just as He treasures each of us.
May the Lord grant you a wonderful, blessed, safe—and very thankful—Thanksgiving vacation, filled with much thanks giving.
Remember that you are greatly loved, and we’ll see you around campus.
For the Glory of Christ and the Good of Our Kids,
Dr. Vance Nichols
Head of School
Alta Loma Christian School
Dr. Nichols (BS, MS, EdD) also serves as an adjunct professor of education and on the MSEd Specialization Advisory Council at California Baptist University, and on the Private School Advisory Committee for California State Assemblyman Marc Steinorth. He recently completed a three-year term as commissioner and chair of the ACSI Southern California Regional Accreditation Commission, and was an educational researcher, organizational leadership theorist, and 2015 Innovation Scholar at the University of Southern California. His most recent published research—“Schools At Risk: An Analysis of Factors Endangering the Evangelical Christian School Movement in America”—can be accessed online via the USC Digital Library at: http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/cdm/ref/collection/p15799coll40/id/294584/rec/82