Father Peter’s Message
The Seeds of Discouragement
The Ten Lepers, Being Grateful; Luke 17:12-19 (12th Sunday of Luke)
An old legend tells how a man once stumbled upon a great red barn after wandering for days in a forest in the dark. He was seeking refuge from the howling winds of a storm. He entered the barn and his eyes grew accustomed to the darkness.
To his astonishment, he discovered that this was the barn where the devil kept his storehouse of seeds. They were the seeds that were sown in the hearts of people.
The man became curious and lit a match. He began examining the piles of bins of seeds around him. He couldn’t help but notice that the greatest majority of them said, Seeds of Discouragement.
About that time one of the devil’s helpers arrived to pick up a load of seeds. The man asked him, Why the abundance of discouragement seeds? The imp laughed and replied, because they are so effective and they take root rapidly.
Do they grow everywhere? The man asked.
At that moment the devil’s helper became very sullen. He glared at the man and in disgust he said, No, They never seem to grow in the heart of a grateful person.
There is so much for us, my brothers and sisters in the Lord, for which we are to be grateful. We need to start to take account and be mindful of the Lord’s blessings. If I ask you to look at your life to make a careful observation of the many blessings, what would you see? How many could you count? How do you comprehend and appreciate them?
I’m sure you can count blessings and know that our gracious God has given you much to be proud of.
So given this fact, why do we, at times, have the tendency to digest the devil’s seeds of discouragement and overlook all that the Lord has done for you and your family. Is it because human nature is inherently cynical or negative? This might be an excuse but it’s not a reason. Human nature is given to us by God. So, to be truly human is to achieve perfection, first with an identification of God’s gifts and then for our nature to take on divine qualities.
I know that it is too easy to overlook the many blessings given to us. Too many times we neglect to see the over-riding good to focus on the small petty stuff. We suffer with self-pity and jealously seeing, or should I say counting, our neighbor’s blessings and not our own.
These seeds of discouragement should not overshadow the fact that our Lord blesses us with the proper blessing – meaning an individual blessing He knows is to your benefit.
Ten lepers were given the proper blessing in today’s Gospel reading, the exact blessing they were hoping for and needed to return to society. Nine lepers show us how not to be in regards to His blessings. One showed us that a simple thanks is to our benefit.
Each of the nine lepers had excuses for their, let’s say, ungrateful attitude.
Oftentimes, we look at those nine lepers and question, how could it be that after receiving such an immense blessing they could just walk away from the Lord without even offering a simple thanks. How terrible they must be?
The seeds of discouragement, affect us in the same way it affected them – we are ungrateful and walk away from the Lord, having received such great blessings. We, like the nine lepers, make one of the following nine excuses:
- We wait… to see if the Lord’s blessing is real.
- We wait…to see if His blessings will last.
- We think… no need to thank Him now, we’ll see Him again and we’ll thank Him then.
- We decide… that was never a true blessing.
- We say… I would have gotten healed anyhow…the doctors and surgeon are pretty good now a days.
- I’ll thank someone else for my blessing.
- Well, it was just a small blessing, it wasn’t that big to actually thank the Lord.
- Anyone could have done what He did.
- My situation was really better by the time I received His blessing.
These excuses are not surprising. I wonder if more than 10% of us are ever truly grateful to God. In fact, it often seems like the more we have the less gratitude we feel.
We are to be grateful for everything that we have. The lesson here today is that living our lives like the nine lepers, ungrateful, is a negative existence. And it makes additional blessings more difficult.
But with a thankful and grateful heart, the one leper multiplied his blessing and doubled his reward.
If I ask you, Do you want more of God’s blessings or less of them? Each of us would say…more, more, more! This is good because it is to our advantage! But more and greater blessings come when a grateful appreciation is shown to Him who is the Source of all things good and perfect.
Today, my dear brothers and sisters, you are the one good and grateful leper, having come to the Lord expressing your thanks. Let us not in the days to come turn away from His great blessings and wander off with the seeds of discouragement in our hands. Let us rather hold fast to the blessings received through Him who offered us the greatest blessing today – the possibility of fellowship with God.
Let us day upon day return to the Lord in our prayers with a grateful heart and with a single simple phrase that will multiple our own blessings –THANK YOU, LORD!