Christian Living

Spiritual Life

The Grateful Samaritan

"One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, 'Praise God!' He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan." (Luke 17:15-16 NLT)

Ten lepers had been healed, yet only one returned to give glory to God. God makes it very clear to us that this person who had returned was a despised foreigner. We often miss God’s blessing because it comes through someone with whom we disagree.

I once was asked to work on a steering committee of a crusade held by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Grady Wilson, an associate evangelist, did the preaching.

I had been saved and nurtured In Christ in the charismatic renewal that occurred in the Church in the latter part of the last century. One of the central tenants of our faith was a belief in the baptism in the Holy Spirit. One of my friends who attended my church got wind of my involvement in this crusade. He said to me, “I would not be involved with them, they don’t even believe in the baptism in the Holy Spirit.”

I was a young Christian at the time and it shook me. I started to have reservations about my involvement with the crusade. Even though I had doubts, what my friend said just did not sit well with me, and I continued to serve on the committee. The result, a rich learning experience. In relation to reaching the lost, it was honey straight out of the rock. The people on the Billy Graham team had forgotten more than I would ever know about evangelism. I learned that I need people who did not believe exactly as I did. A difference in theology almost made me miss this life-changing experience.

It’s amazing, God uses people who don’t believe just like we do. One of the themes of the Scripture above is that God uses people who don’t dot all the i's and cross all the t's theologically. Of course, our theology is important, but is it significant enough to divide us unless it involves the basics of our salvation or a clear departure from biblical truth? You probably heard about the pastor who was having a discussion with God about working with another church. He told the Lord, “I don’t know if I agree with everything they do.”  God replied, “I don’t always agree with everything that you do, yet I still work with you.”

The Apostle Paul instructs us in Romans 12:4-5:

"Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other." 

When we separate ourselves from God’s family we are fracturing Christ’s Body and missing part of the character of God.

Saint Augustine once said,

“In the essentials unity, in the non-essentials liberty, in all things charity,”

The grateful Samaritan reveals to us that loving God is evidenced by gratefulness in our hearts more than theological correctness in our minds.

Lord, reveal to us our need for others in the Body of Christ. Lord Jesus, open our eyes to see that if we don’t accept all our brothers and sisters we don’t see all of you. Like the despised Samaritan, give us grateful hearts.

Copyright © 2019 Ken Barnes, used with permission.

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