I’ve never named a tree until “Goldie” came along. Today, (Wednesday October 9th), Goldie is radiating the spirit of fall in the parsonage backyard. Meanwhile, at Bowman UMC in western North Dakota all Wednesday evening activities have been cancelled as a pending blizzard nears. Having outgrown my enjoyment of blizzards years ago, Goldie reminds me to be thankful for the beautiful moments in life–especially because they don’t always last. Luke tells of the day Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem traveling along the border between Samaria and Galilee. Ten lepers called out to Jesus. “Jesus, Master, show us mercy!” Jesus paused and spoke healing words into their lives. Immediately, they all hurried off to show the priests they’d been cleansed. Once the priests saw they were cleansed, they could re-enter the community. So, they were in a hurry. But, there was one took an extra moment to walk back to Jesus and fall before him. “Thank you!” said the healed man. Jesus commended the man, then asked where the other nine who were healed were (Luke 17:11-19).
The healing story is rich with meaning–including the fact that the only one who gave thanks was an often frowned-upon Samaritan–a foreigner. Today, however, the story’s message reminds me of Goldie’s plea: “Make time to be thankful.” Expressing thanks is a faithful and healing action. Martin Luther once said, “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces I would still plant my apple tree.” Why, if the world was falling apart any? Because some actions are healing for our souls: like planting life and expressing of thanks. Take a moment today to thank God, or thank someone who has blessed you. If you want, take the time to thank a tree like Goldie. Tomorrow, even if the blizzard does reach us, make the effort to find something else to express thanks for.