Keeping My Distance

14 11 2007

I was just reading and praying through Lk 17:11-19 where 10 lepers approach Jesus for healing and only one returns to say ‘thank you’ after having been healed.

The phrase which stood out to me was “They stood at a distance and called out...” Why would I linger over this phrase?

Of course, the lepers didn’t get close Jesus, they knew not to get close to anyone. Otherwise, they’d spread their disease.

So, they didn’t want to get Jesus (and his followers) sick, right? Or was there something else? What about me? How do I approach the Master for healing?

How often do I “keep my distance” – only getting close enough to shout out a request and (hopefully) get what I’m looking for? All too often.

Why? Am I afraid – as perhaps the lepers were – that I’ll pass my sickness on to the Lord? Or am I more afraid of the transformation that will happen to me?

Or – on an even more shallow and common level – am I just looking for blessing and not the One who gives it? Yeah, that’s probably closer to the truth.

Based upon the actions of the 9 who did not return thanks, my guess is they are a lot like me. They got close enough to Jesus to ask for what they wanted – healing from leprosy- and then went on with their lives. They weren’t looking for anything more.  Certainly, not a close relationship with Christ.  The classic “hit and run” request.

On the other hand, I think the one who returned thanks saw healing as a means to an end – not the end in and of itself. Maybe not at first, but it certainly didn’t take him long to realize there was more benefit to being clean than just being clean.

His healing allowed him to “throw himself at Jesus’ feet”. To be as close to the Master as possible. That’s the attitude I need to have.

When I look for healing grace so that I might draw closer to God, keeping my distance will no longer be a concern. It will become a fading habit.

Then, instead of keeping myself ‘safely’ away from Christ, I’ll be free to lose myself in Christ.




2 responses

14 11 2007

What a place for a guy with leprosy to be in. A place where he can see beyond the fact that he needs healing from this disease. Would I be in a place where I could see beyond such an obvious crisis? To know that this is not the ends to a means.

Do I come to Jesus with a check list of things to be accomplished or do I come to be near him and know him? Can one lead towards the other? If my checklist gets me there, will he mind my poor intentions? “What if this is as good as it gets?” Not forever or even for tomorrow but for this particular moment. Does he accept me no matter what? No matter who I am? I guess that’s who Jesus is, right?

16 11 2007

Well, maybe the leper wasn’t that insightful, but he was certainly open to being led further beyond just the healing of his physical body.

MY problem is that I now know how I should approach Christ, but I don’t act that way. I know I shouldn’t just holler at Jesus when I need something. I know something much better, sweeter, more fulfilling is available if I would draw near to him and surrender myself to him. Yet I still hold back because I don’t want to give up the pitiful little lordship of myself.

Thankfully, Jesus accepts me – fallen intentions and all – because, yes, that is who he is. And I do think that by his grace, a superficial checklist can lead to an intimate relationship with him.

Praise God that our poor intentions can (and are) redeemed into worship and love! That’s good news. That’s the gospel.

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