“Time to Thank” / Luke 17:11-19 / Pr. Lucas A. Albrecht/ Sunday October 11th 2020 / Thanksgiving Weekend / Mount Olive Lutheran Church
Text: Luke 17:11-19
Theme: “Time to Thank”
Intr – Dear friends, I came up to the pulpit today to let you know that I’ve had a completely jam-packed, full to the brim, busier-than-busy week, so unfortunately I didn’t have time to prepare a sermon for this weekend. I apologize for that. And, by the way, I have to run because, as I just said, things are really crazy busy here, so God’s blessings to you, and I’ll see you next time.
(leaves the puplpit .../... Comes back)
How about that? I know you guys have been very understanding with us, with the busy lives you pastors have, and that your patience has been tested and extended beyond breaking point lately; but that would be something to be really appalled by, wouldn’t it? How come a pastor could not have had time to write a sermon (or at least wing one) since this is at the top of the priority list on a Congregational work? Especially on a Thanksgiving weekend? That would certainly be something not to be amused by, for sure.
1 - NO TIME
Let’s go way back in time to Galillee, circa 33 AD. Our Saviour Jesus is covering ground on His way to Jerusalem. Many things running through His mind, for He knows what will happen there. He knows that’s His last trip. He must have been anxious, but resolute. Then, in a small village between Samaria and Galilee, two of the places which no traditional Jew took very seriously ten lepers - who were taken even less seriously - come out to meet him and, from a distance, the cry for help. What then is Jesus’ answer? We would be very understanding of Him if he would say: “Sorry guys, I’m on my way to a very important mission, I don't have time right now to stop and listen to you. I'm sure you will find a solution to your problem, or someone else who could help you. I'm very sorry, but this is what my life has become lately, pretty busy, full to the brim. I gotta go; sorry; bye.”
The account is real but this paragraph is fictional. Well, it is not in the Bible, but it is very real in our world. 'Not having time' is one of the top buzzwords of our time. We hardly have time for most things we want to do these days, do we? Time to stop, to talk, to read a book; even to ask for something.... In the spiritual realm, we don’t find to pray, to meditate, and often times to go meet the Master and thank Him for curing us from leprosy of sin and for taking care of our daily leprosies, which weigh so heavily on our shoulders.
We can admit of course that, in some situations, lack of time happens. The week is so tight that it could have another day or two. But, if we are to be honest this is not the rule. The times we live in, a global pandemic, makes even more evident that even when we get all the time in the world in our hands it seems we don’t have time for many of the things that matter, because then other time- consumers like anxiety, fear and hopelessness for example, seem to run our clocks and watches.
Now, we know God created time, so there must be a certain logic and precision in it. He even instituted one day to do nothing, just to rest. “You will never have time for anything. If you need time, you have to make it”. The fact is that we fail in making time for what matters; to look up, to look inward, to think and meditate, to repent and receive forgiveness. To look outward and act, helping our neighbours. We are so busy with our life and things we think matter that we don't even have time to ask for time.
2 – JESUS’ TIME
If we were to use our terminology, Jesus was always on the go, busy busy busy. He had a group of disciples to teach and manage conflicts; He had a crowd of followers approaching Him all the time, demanding from Him some level of attention. There were also people who wanted to stab Him on the back, or rather, to nail Him to a cross; people ready to criticize and find the flaws. He also needed personal care and rest. And of course, all of this gravitated around His Greatest and foremost work: He came to obey the Father unto death, even death on the Cross.
Still, Jesus has time for those 10 lepers. He stops; He listens. He helps. How is it that Jesus has time? I’d guess and answer: because He does not lose sight of what is most important. He has His mission first in front of Him and all other matters and affairs come along. He carries on His mission of saving humanity, as He goes He does not forget that this human being is the object of his love. So he finds time to deal with the crowd – composed of individual human beings; he has time for His disciples – who were human and in need as well. And he spares time also for those 10 lepers, in need of His love and compassion.
Jesus knows what comes first, and He puts that into practice. All of His Work is a Great demonstration of what it is to set priorities and put them into practice. Even in the hustle and bustle, in the midst of "rush", with all the "lack of time", talking, searching, finding, saving and feeding comes first. He came to cure us from sin and to give us new life, with his death and resurrection. He came to give us life, to be with us, to have time with us every day. This is a priority which He won’t ever let slip down to the bottom line.
3 – TIME TO THANK
Jesus has time. He always has. In His Word, in His Sacraments, in our daily life. How wonderful it is to know it when in the midst of the leprosy of our tensions, struggles, temptations…. and also when lack of time and absence of thanksgiving is the matter. We come to Him with our problems and fears, and receive from Him the Peace and forgiveness we couldn’t find anywhere. Now we can shout in gratitude, realizing it is always Time to Thank.
We know from the Biblical account that only one leper returned to thank Jesus - and he was a foreigner, despised by many from the “pure” Jewish people. Jesus invites the other nine too though, be them you, or me, or everyone, bringing shouts of thanksgiving to Him. It could be for years of blessings, could be for another week in which he carried us on, or in times when he provides a great miracle in our lives. Thanking can never cease to be on the top of the Christian life’s priorities’ list. It is always Time to Thank. It is always time to make time to thank!
Thanksgiving comes from faith. If we want to have grateful hearts then, we need to cultivate faith in Christ. He always has time, no matter how “busy” He is. This faith is a gift, and this faith is a vessel. Just before our text for today, Jesus talks about the faith like a mustard seed that can tell to a mulberry tree to be uprooted and transplanted into the sea. Is the saying that your faith is powerful per se? Actually, faith is a vessel. Its power lies not in being a vessel but in what it contains as being one.
Faith comes from God, and from this faith gratitude comes forth. We are assured that even though we may feel like lepers set aside and despised by the world, we have the Son of God who died in our place to assigning us value no one else could do. How wonderful it is now to make time to thank; to run to Him in gratitude to shout: “Thank you, Lord!”
Cc – As Jesus always has time for us, God sends His Holy Spirit to help us to work our time in ways that we never miss the most important things. Also, we are reminded by Thanksgiving Day to make Time to Thank. It is always time to make time to Thank the Lord. It is always time to use our time wisely in faith and action.
So here it is after all! I’ve made time to make it, so there it is, the sermon for this Sunday. “Time to Thank.”
Thank you for making some time to listen attentively to it.
 Small Catechism, 3rd Commandment
 Charles Buxton
 In addition to that Jesus sets another example: He delegates, he gives value to working together. He orders lepers to show themselves to the priests, who were the religious and health authorities who saw the cure for leprosy.
 LENSKI, R.C.H. Interpretation of St. Luke’s Gospel, page 867.
In this faith our life will always be a “testimony with a loud voice”, like that of a single leper who came back to thank Him. We do not need mainstream media, multi-liked social posts or a megaphone on the streets to speak in a loud voice, although we may find that useful too depending on the occasion. But our life of faith with God, our daily assurance in Him, our faith into practice in small and great things, this ones will be living, convincing testimonies that we are instruments in the hands of God. It will be a shout out to the Lord; “Thank you for your time”.
 Two friends met for beer and snacks on a Friday’s evening. After one or two sips, Jack said:
- Gosh, John, I have noticed how you haven't been in your best lately. Are you finding difficult to do the activities that are important to your life?
-Well, Jack… I know there are many important things I need like to do, but I haven't had the time for that. But I have so many tasks to do in my day that I don't seem to find time...
- Look John – said Jack - I need to tell you frankly as a friend: if you don't take care of your life, you won't have life to take care of your tasks. ”