Just Walk Across The Room: Evangelism Pointers

Sunday’s Scripture ~ Luke 17:11-19

Consider This Part 1: How do you like to be thanked?

Even though I’m a pastor and I’m in front of a congregation 48 Sundays a year plus additional services as requested and scheduled, I don’t prefer to be the center of attention.  I’m not the “pull me in front of tons of people and have them fall all over me” kinda girl.  And the thought of people giving me a standing ovation makes my face turn the color of cherry taffy.

I like to be thanked in a handwritten card, handshake, or hug.  I like to be thanked through eye contact and sincere conversation.

Nothing extravagant.  Simply authentic to the person with whom I am in relationship.

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Consider This Part 2: How do you express thanks to others?  Do you express thanks to others?  How could you begin to express thanks to others?

Are you hindered from expressing gratitude because you do not know what that person would like?  What if you started expressing gratitude by the means you like?  Perhaps that would open up conversation so you could learn how your neighbor, friend, family member, or colleague likes to experience and receive gratitude.

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In our text this week a person once infirm returns to extend gratitude to Jesus for a received healing.  But how does he express his gratitude to Jesus?  This man doesn’t raise his voice.  This man doesn’t surround himself and Jesus with a big crowd.  This man doesn’t rent a first century sky-writer aircraft so his thanks can be written among the clouds spanning the entire Galilean countryside.

(Yes, I know…sky-writer aircraft came later…just go with me on this!)

This man walked up to Jesus, shouted “Praise God!,” fell at Jesus’ feet, and thanked him.  Scripture does not indicate the length of this conversation or transcribe the text for us.  As Jesus is quick to ask where the other nine are who were healed I imagine in my mind that the words of gratitude the man shared are brief yet poignant.

This man could have gone on about his life and started living his life – back with his family, his friends, his trade, his church – since those suffering leprosy were exiled from social, economic, and religious life.  But he chose to make the time to return to Jesus and express his gratitude.  Jesus receives this man’s thanks and the two depart – Jesus continuing towards Jerusalem and this man back to the life he thought he had surely lost because of his infirmity.

What do you think would be the first words out of his mouth upon returning to his life-pre-leprosy?  Would he talk about the weather?  How the burlap industry is bustling??  If his family should keep their investment in goats or move to llamas???

No!

I think the first words out of his mouth would be about how Jesus healed him!  How meeting Jesus restored him to health and life!  How encountering Jesus ensured his faith that he had not been forgotten by God and that he was not being punished by God!

And by telling that story, my friends, this man – once sick and exiled but now healed and restored – continues to express gratitude to his Savior Jesus.

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Consider This Part 3: What stories of gratitude do we have to share about how Jesus has healed us?  Have we shared those stories with our Jesus?  Who else can we share these stories with that together we may all grow in our faith?

Prayer: “Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices, who wondrous things has done, in whom this world rejoices; who from our mother’s arms has blessed us on our way with countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.”  Amen.*

*”Now Thank We All Our God” from The United Methodist Hymnal, 102.

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