Giving as a Testimony
By Mike Stickler
1 When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him.
2 A man with leprosy came and knelt before Him and said, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean."
3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.
4 Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
Have you ever been thankful? ... I mean really, really thankful? You know, the kind of thankful that blows your mind and says,” I can’t believe (that person) did (that thing) for me!” (You can fill in the blanks.)
This usually comes from knowing you do not deserve the thing they did for you, doesn’t it? Here I am, a guy who deserves nothing, earned nothing, and yet, I was given a precious gift, just because the giver wanted to give it—to me(!). I think that is why I like working with the homeless, addicted, and criminals so much. They ‘get it.’ They catch the concept of this verse—far quicker / far better than we do sometimes.
Their experience has taught them not to expect anything – which quickly becomes that they ‘don’t deserve anything.’ Even the simplest thing given to them, a morsel of food, a warm place to sleep, a hot cup of coffee, means so much. Truly, they are the lepers of our society.
I think that this is what Matthew is describing, through the situation and in the culture of his day, regarding the leper in this verse. Like today, the ‘unclean,’ the shunned, of ancient times were often left to believe they merited nothing. But, this one simply asked Jesus if He was willing to make him clean—and he was cleansed.
How elevating. How wonderful!
What value Jesus placed on this man ... places on all mankind ... even places on us.
But then, Jesus says something curious. He tells the leper to tell no one; but, to go and show himself to the priest and give the offering that Moses commanded.
Why? Not only was it the Law—
- but, by obeying Jesus’ direction, he would show his gratitude for this miraculous gift of physical healing ...
- it would result in this leper being declared ‘officially clean’ to the community, a whole new life for this man ...
- it would be to this leper an objective affirmation that now he really was clean—by means of this miraculous gift (it was really true!) ...
and it would also be a testimony to the power of its giver.
Today’s Generosity Challenge:
How about you? Like the leper, are you immensely grateful for the cleansing blood of Christ in your life?
Do you give as a testimony...
... to the miraculous gift you’ve received?
... to the miraculous change this gift has made in your life?
... and do you give out of gratitude and thankfulness?
Write down your reflections on this passage on this blog post.
About Michael Stickler
Mike is an author, radio host, and a highly sought after motivational speaker. His best-selling book, A Journey to Generosity, is widely acclaimed throughout the Christian community. He is the publisher of Generous Living Magazine and writes for the Christian Post, 'A Generous Life' column.