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'When Nothing Can Be Given, One Can Always Give Thanks'

I thought that I would make all of this week's posts focused on thanksgiving and thankfulness for obvious reasons.

So, here's a sermon that was delivered on Thanksgiving Day last year by Pastor Tony Sikora and that was published by Brothers of John The Steadfast...


 
Faith, Thanksgiving, And Worship, A Leper's Journey 
There’s not much good you can say about the life of a leper. No one clamors to live in isolation from family and friends, God and neighbor. No one covets the life of leisure because one is unable to work. No one longs to sing the leper’s dirge -- unclean, unclean everywhere they go. The leper’s life is a life of perpetual loss, loss of love, loss of kinship, loss of flesh and bone, loss of life. There’s not much good one can say about the life of a leper and there’s little that can be done about it. Lepers cannot give, they can only receive. The leper’s life is a life of perpetual reception and so the purest example of the life of gratitude, when nothing can be given, one can always give thanks. But what would 10 lepers receive that would move them to give thanks? What good would cross their path, come their way, change their life? Jesus! Jesus crosses over on His way to Jerusalem. Jesus changes everything, for them and for us. For what do we have that we have not received? Is not our life similar to theirs? Do we not share the same needs? Our hearts long for love. We yearn for family to be near, to hold and embrace those whom we love and those who love us. We are often anxious about our health and we want to live a long life. Their wants and needs are no different. They cry to Jesus and so should we. He is the one from whom all blessing flows. “Jesus, master, have mercy upon us.” Their Kyrie is our Kyrie. Their Lord is our Lord. Their dirge is transformed. Declaring their uncleanness has been exchanged for the humble prayer. The cry to keep away is put away while the call to draw near is voiced on His ears.


But have you ever wondered why only 1 out of the 10 came back to express their thankfulness?

For that matter, why were the other 9 viewed negatively? After all, they did exactly what Jesus told them to do, didn't they?

Both are very good questions that your Pastor can answer for you, especially if this sermon (and others you come across this week) still leave you wondering.

Later on in the sermon referenced above, Pastor Sikora points out the simple truth that where there is no faith, there is no thanksgiving.

I think we would be wise to prayerfully consider that Biblical truth this week.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, this Thanksgiving Day, let's recall this account from Scripture, and let's remember what Martin Luther pointed out when he wrote, "We cannot perform any greater or better work for God, nor can we render Him a nobler service than thanking Him."



NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Executive Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little more than 2 years ago now. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because we now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!

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About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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