Not too long ago our youth group introduced me to this one-minute video about First World Problems.
Ever since watching this video, I keep catching myself complaining and then thinking, “Oh yeah, First World Problem.” It does put things in perspective.
This weekend we will take a look at 10 men who had serious problems. They were suffering with the disease of leprosy. Today we call this Hansen’s Disease and we understand that it is caused by a slow growing type of bacteria. Some of the symptoms of leprosy include:
- Disfiguring skin sores
- Muscle weakness leading to paralysis
- Chronic non-healing ulcers
- Eye problems leading to blindness
- Painful, tender nerves
- Burning sensations in the skin
Persons discovered to have the sores associated with leprosy were declared “unclean.” They were kicked out of their families and villages and barred from religious ceremonies. They were forced to cover their sores and call out, “unclean,” whenever they saw other people. Unclean meant that they were considered to be dirty and out of favor with God. These outcast lepers would sometimes find each other and band together to try to survive.
Luke 17:11-19 tells the story of a time when Jesus met 10 lepers. Instead of being afraid he would catch the evil that possessed them, Jesus interacted with them and then told them to go and present themselves to the priests. The priests were the persons who could declare them to be “clean.” On the way, all 10 men discovered that they had been healed. The leprosy was gone. We assume 9 of these men rushed off to rejoin their families and their pre-leprosy lives. Only one of these men came back to find Jesus before going back to his life. This man was filled with gratitude and thanked Jesus. And, this man was a foreigner. This man received a second blessing from Jesus.
Of course, even in the so-called “First World” there are very real problems. Illness. Depression. Anxiety. Loss and death. Relationship issues. The “First World Problems” and the very real and serious problems we face can take hold of our mood and our spirit, taking us down a dark path of even greater disease.
Good News! There is an antidote. This weekend we will talk about how gratitude, especially when practiced in a disciplined way, can save us from the darkness and lead us to a second blessing. This antidote is easily available to all of us.
Let’s get into the right frame of mind as we go into this week of “Thanksgiving”.
I look forward to worshipping with you this weekend!