Spoiled Brats, Lone Rangers, and Lepers

Liver and onions? Thanks, but no thanks. Root canal? Thanks, but no thanks. Flat tire on I-35? Thanks, but no thanks. What do we mean when we say “Thanks, but no thanks”?  We mean … Thank you for the offer but I’m going to decline the offer. I love to read Luke 17:11-19 around the time of Thanksgiving.  You know the story.  The one in which Jesus approaches 10 lepers and he provides healing to all 10.  Yet, only one of the lepers returns to give thanks. “Thanks, but no thanks.”   When we use the phrase “Thanks, but no thanks” we are saying “Thank you for making the offer but I’m going to decline the offer.” In this passage, 9 of the lepers turn the phrase “Thanks, but no thanks” on its head. They accepted the offer but decline to say thank you. Thanks …. but I’m giving you no thanks. Are you tracking with me? Approaching the week of Thanksgiving this passage gives me reason to paint with a broad brush and put the entire world, including you, into 3 categories. Oversimplified, I know. Category #1: Spoiled Brat You don’t have to be a toddler or a teenager to fall into the spoiled brat category. Spoiled brats come in all ages, shapes, and sizes. A few of the favorite sayings of the spoiled brat:

  • “Mine, mine, mine!”
  • “That’s not fair!”
  • “You always …”
  • “You never …”
  • “What about me?”
  • “I told you so”

The spoiled brat rarely says “thank you” because he/she believes he/she is owed everything. When he/she receives something the response is, “Well, I deserve it.” When he/she doesn’t receive the response it, “That’s not fair.” Category #2: Lone Ranger You don’t have to be a fan of westerns to be a lone ranger. Lone rangers come in all ages, shapes, and sizes. A few of the favorite sayings of the lone ranger:

  • “Look at what I did.”
  • “You sure are lucky to have me around.”
  • “What did you ever do before I got here?”
  • “That was my idea.”
  • “I did that.”
  • “I said that.”

The lone ranger rarely says “thank you” because he/she thinks he/she did everything on their own. The lone ranger doesn’t say “thank you” he/she only pats their own back. The spoiled brat, the lone ranger and then there is … Category #3: The 10th Leper We saw the attitude of the 10th leper in Luke 17:11-19. The 10th leper returned to give thanks where thanks was due. The 10th leper realized that apart from Jesus he was an outcast, an outsider, an afterthought, a nobody, just a man with an infectious skin disease. Yet, with Jesus he was healed. He was in insider, a first thought, a somebody, just a man who had been given grace. Are you a spoiled brat, lone ranger or leper who has been given grace?

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