A fourth lesson I think we can learn from the lepers whom Jesus healed is that sometimes we can learn about thanksgiving from unexpected sources. When the one Samaritan leper returned to give thanks, Jesus asked, "Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?"
The other nine lepers were apparently Jews. One might expect them to be the first to return and give thanks to a fellow Jew, Jesus, for their healing. Yet, it was the Samaritan who returned to give thanks. This story provokes us to open our eyes wider to the whole world, to see what we can learn from others, not simply from others who are "like us".
There is much to learn from other living human sources, and there is much we can learn from unexpected sources of wisdom in literature. For example, would you ever expect to learn something about thanksgiving from Sherlock Holmes?
Holmes' faithful companion, Dr. Watson, narrates the following story in The Adventure of the Naval Treaty. Holmes...
walked past the couch to an open window and held up the drooping stalk of a moss rose, looking down at the dainty blend of crimson and green. It was a new phase of his character to me, for I had never before seen him show an interest in natural objects.
"There is nothing in which deduction is so necessary as in religion," said he, leaning with his back against the shutters.... "Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are really necessary for our existence in the first instance. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its color are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it. It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers."We can learn something about thanksgiving from unexpected sources, whether it be from a Samaritan leper or Sherlock Holmes. The lesson of Sherlock Holmes raises this question: what "extras" could we and should we be giving thanks for right now?
Tomorrow we will look at a fifth and final lesson from the lepers....