Stealing Praises

“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

Have you ever had someone take your idea and run with it? Or perhaps a boss/supervisor take credit for your ideas and work? I have. It is so frustrating.  Perhaps you’ve labored for other’s behalf, for their good without receiving so much as a thank you. Maybe like me, if you think about it too long, a twinge of bitterness unfolds within.
I think of Jesus healing the ten lepers. Not only did he heal them from sickness, but he delivered them from insults hurled at them, from begging, from societal shame. Once they were considered nobodies, pariahs, by those around them. Daily dehumanization. Now, because of Jesus’ touch, they were normal. They treasured normal. Normal meant they could now work to provide for themselves and family. Normal meant they could go wherever they wanted–from the village market, to the temple, to visit family without having to yell, “Unclean! Unclean!”
Only one, a Samaritan at that, returned to heap thanks and praise upon Jesus. Jesus notices him and publicly applauds his act of faith.
Recently, when I was overlooked, I thought to myself, “Well really Lord, the glory is supposed to go to you. Really.”  I remembered that he notices what we do in secret. I also remembered Colossians 3 where Paul admonishes us to do all for the glory of God, not for our own glory.
It should be enough for us to get our reward in heaven, even if we don’t get it in this life. And many who get acknowledgment in this life–if they’ve done acts of righteousness for the wrong motives–may not get acknowledgment in the life to come.
God sees us though. God sees, even if no one else does. And if our obedience and love bring him joy and glory, let us be content that one day we’ll get acknowledgment, we’ll get a pat on the back from him. This is what we must tell ourselves for it is true and it will squelch bitterness.

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