Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, "Were not ten made clean. But the other nine, where are they?" Luke 17:15-17
Gratitude is not one of the Ten Commandments, and not even a Mark. Jesus didn't say, "Thank God early and often." Yet, God gives us priceless gifts every day. By our assigned guardian angel we may have been saved from a fatal accident yesterday, or from contracting a virus the day before. Today a much needed check came in the mail.
I imagine that in the invisible spirit world a complex network of angels exists that orchestrates our lives, constructing events, granting blessings, and managing crises in response to our thoughts and prayers and actions, and according to the Lord's will. Perhaps the angels have guidelines to follow, like laws of nature, that tell them when to bless or when to trip someone.
Every time I read or hear this passage, I am in awe that nine healed people could simply walk away. Is it possible that they were not aware of their healing or that they did not believe that it came from Jesus?
In the movie Joe Versus the Volcano Patricia said, "My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement."
To be aware when He heals our bodies or minds or hearts should cause us aspiring immortals to live in constant total amazement and gratitude, so that we too want to prostrate ourselves at the icon of Jesus and thank Him. Thankfulness is a good excuse to look back.
True, gratitude is not a command. But to be among the nine who walked away, is to walk into oblivion instead of heaven.