Thanking—When No One Else Does (Martin Wiles’ Lessons for Children and Youth)


Scripture Reference: Luke 17:11-19

Memory Verse: I Thessalonians 5:18

Being a follower of Christ entails celebration. Fall is a season of celebration. In years past, farmers, their families, and entire communities celebrated the ingathering of the crops and thanked God for the bountiful harvest.

Let’s say our memory verse together: Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT).

Icebreaker Questions:

What’s the difference between a leper and a leopard?

Have your parents ever made you say “Thank you” when you didn’t really want to? Tell about it.

How would you feel if no one wanted to hang around with you? What are some reasons others might not want to? Would you find it hard to be thankful?

Do you ever just forget to say “Thank you?” Why might that be?

Activity Time:


  • Provide the children with a tri-fold card made out of construction paper.
  • Have children write and draw a simple THANK YOU card to someone they would like to thank.
  • Stickers and markers will make for good decorations. A piece of gum can also be glued onto one of the folds to give away.

Today we will talk about one solitary leper who remembered to thank Jesus for healing him.

Bible Story Time:

In the Old Testament period, having leprosy was a terrible thing—as it still is. Today, we’ll study about ten lepers Jesus encountered.

Reflection: How do you think you would feel if you had a disease that made others avoid you? Or perhaps they couldn’t be around you because you were contagious? Do you know someone who has a bad sickness? What about someone who looks different or who is mentally challenged? How do you treat them?

In Jesus’ day and before, having leprosy was a terrible thing. Lepers were separated into colonies, as they still are in some countries. They were required to stay away from other people. If they had to come near others for some purpose, they had to announce themselves as “unclean” so the person would make sure not to come into contract with them.

Today, another name for leprosy is Hansen’s disease. Although leprosy is curable now, in Jesus’ time it often took a miracle for a leper to be healed. If a leper thought he was healed, he had to show himself to the priest. The priest would examine him and declare him healed or not. If he was healed, he could rejoin the community.

Reflection: Are you thankful that God has now given doctors so much knowledge that they can give us medicine and treatments to help us get well from so many sicknesses?

While on his way to Jerusalem in the southern part of Israel, Jesus encountered ten lepers near the border of Galilee and Samaria. As Jesus entered the village, the lepers kept their distance as they were supposed to. They must have heard of Jesus, however, and of his healing power, because they cried out to him, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

Instead of healing the lepers instantly—as he could have—Jesus told them to show themselves to the priest. A leper wasn’t supposed to do this unless they had been healed, and at this point they weren’t. Jesus was asking them to demonstrate faith.

Reflection: What are some ways you show your faith? (sitting in a chair, turning on the television, turning on the computer, etc.) Do you have to have this same type of faith in Jesus?

All ten lepers had faith Jesus could heal them. As they went on their way to show themselves to the priest, the leprosy disappeared. Only one, however, took time to return and thank Jesus for healing him. The Bible tells us he was a Samaritan. Samaritans were hated by the Jews because they were a mixed race. That the leper who returned to thank Jesus was a Samaritan made the story even more interesting.

Reflection: Should you show your thankfulness even if others don’t? What kind of example does this set for others? Name some ways you can.

When the one leper reached Jesus, he fell at his feet and thanked him for restoring his health. Jesus asks him where the other nine are. They had taken advantage of Jesus’ healing power, but they hadn’t returned to thank him.

Reflection: Is it easy for us take advantage of all the good things Jesus does for us and forget to thank him? Can you share one time you’ve done this?

Jesus told the one leper his faith had made him well. Not only was he healed physically but he was also healed spiritually. He accepted Jesus as his Savior.

Reflection: Name some things for which you can thank Jesus.


Martin Wiles
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