The National Retail Fed-eration (NRF) reported that retail sales in May increased for the 11th straight month and during that period displayed a total retail spending increase of 5%. And while employment in NYC has improved, the Consumer Price Index for urban consumers (CPI-U) also experienced its largest increase last month since July 2008 (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 15, 2011 release).
Are we thanking God for the improvement in our economy? And, are we being grateful for the generosity he shows us? The story of Jesus healing the ten lepers comes to mind (Luke 17:11-19).
Jesus encounters ten men with leprosy who cry out to be healed. He is willing and tells them to go and show themselves to the priests. As they travel, they find they are healed. Only one returns, however, to thank Jesus and praise God, and the gospel writer Luke makes a point of identifying him as a Samaritan. Jesus, too, remarks that only ‘this foreigner’ has returned to give praise to God. He commends the man for his faith.
Two things strike me. First, the majority of us will forget that our healing or blessing was a pure gift, unmerited by our activities, and we will forget this quickly. Second, it’s possible that the household of God will largely constitute those who forget, while the ‘foreigner’ is the one person who remembers and is commended for having faith. The Samaritan was not a Jew from Galilee; nevertheless, he praised a common ‘God’ for what Jesus had done for him.
As we are healed of economic hardship, let us remember to come back before God to give him praise. Our healing is a gift, unmerited but rather willed to us by a loving God. So whether it’s our finances, our marriage, or our workplace, our ‘health’ is attribut-able to God and we should acknowledge him forthrightly as the only true source of wellness.