I'd like to tell you about a young boy named Byron Dell. Byron grew up on a farm in Nebraska. When he was eight years old, he had a pony named Frisky.
One morning when Byron was riding Frisky to get the cows, Frisky ran off at great speed. Byron held on for dear life. Fortunately he didn't get hurt.
That night, Byron's father walked with him upstairs to bed and asked his son to kneel with him and thank God he was not hurt. There, beside Byron's bed, the two knelt as the father prayed out loud in giving thanks to God.
This is a true story that happened fifty-five years ago. Byron has never forgotten it. It moved him deeply and gave him a greater appreciation of his father. Above all, it taught him to be grateful. Ever since, he has made gratitude to God a regular part of his life.
Today's Gospel discusses being grateful to God...and not being grateful. Jesus healed ten lepers but only one, a Samaritan, returned to give thanks. What about the other nine?
After hearing this message, we can ask ourselves how often we give thanks to God. Everything we have is a gift from God. Do we recognize these gifts and thank God for them? How we give thanks to God isn't important. What is important is that in some way we show our gratitude to God for the gifts He has given us.
I'd like to close with a very brief prayer to God by the poet George Herbert: "Oh God, you gave given us so much. Give us one more thing -- a grateful heart."
Sincerely in Christ,